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Water distribution moving from Benton Harbor High School to Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor on May 31

Southwest Community Action Agency to continue as distribution site

LANSING, Mich. – Starting Tuesday, May 31, bottled water distribution will be moving from the high school to the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor Fettig Youth Campus at 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive. The final day for water distribution at Benton Harbor High School is Sunday, May 29.

Water will continue to be provided seven days a week by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to City of Benton Harbor residents for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula. Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, will continue to provide bottled water four days a week in addition to the Boys & Girls Club location.

“We appreciate the partnership with Benton Harbor High School over these past several months as together we ensured Benton Harbor families had access to clean drinking water,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “With spring and summer activities kicking into high gear at the high school, we are moving the water distribution to another well-known and easy to access community partner. We will continue providing free, bottled water seven days a week throughout the lead service line replacement project.”

“ It was a privilege and pleasure to serve the City of Benton Harbor as the central location for water distribution,” said Dr. Andraé Townsel, superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools. “Benton Harbor High School is the heart of the community. Anytime there is an opportunity to serve, Tigers pounce on the opportunity.”

The recycling trailer will be relocated to the Housing Commission parking lot, 721 Nate Wells Sr. Drive. This location is adjacent to the water distribution site at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor to continue to allow easy access for empty water bottle recycling for residents.

Additional information on dates and times for water distribution will be provided soon and posted to Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

To arrange water delivery to homebound or residents without transportation in the City of Benton Harbor, contact 211, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phones that cannot contact 211 should contact 844-875-9211.

A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study confirms that certified filters, properly installed and maintained, are effective in reducing lead in Benton Harbor drinking water. The Berrien County Health Department has filters available free of charge.

The ongoing response in Benton Harbor includes the city, Berrien County Health Department, local community organizations, MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor in 18 months and the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration the administration has secured the funding to replace 100 percent of the lines in the city.

There is no cost to City of Benton Harbor residents for lead service line replacement. To assist with assuring the work can be completed as soon as possible, residents are encouraged to complete the Water Service Line Replacement Agreement available online. Contractors cannot begin work on any property without property owner authorization. Completed forms submitted online or returned to Abonmarche, 95 West Main Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or emailed to Sandy Riehl at sriehl@abonmarche.com. For questions, call 269-926-4557.

These efforts also include recently approved funds to remove lead from homes in the city. Families living in Benton Harbor can apply for this service by filling out and mailing in an application that is available online. Residents also can call 866-691-5323 to obtain information. 

For questions about lead, MDHHS can be reached at 866-691-5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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