Weekend sites added for City of Benton Harbor water distribution; Residents reminded to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods, and mixing powdered infant formula

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 19, 2021

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-281-1701

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is continuing to expand upon the number of locations where Benton Harbor residents can pick up free bottled water.

The Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor and Harbor of Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church will hold their first water pickup hours on Saturday, with cases of bottled water also available to residents at several other locations through the weekend and beyond.

"Families that we serve in Benton Harbor are worried about safe water," said Mackenzie Kastl, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. "We are pleased to be able to work with the state to distribute clean, free water to our families. This is a priority for the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. We have staff from all five our locations in Berrien and Van Buren counties volunteering at the distribution site."

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said: "We want Benton Harbor residents to know we are taking action to make it more convenient to acquire safe drinking water for their families. Working with local partners, we are adding distribution sites while also working to have water delivered to residents who are homebound or without transportation."

Upcoming dates and times for residents to pick up water at distribution sites are below. Unless otherwise indicated, volunteers at the site will load cases of water into vehicles.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller St., 1-3 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 21

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller St., 4-6 p.m.          

Friday, Oct. 22

  • God's Household of Faith, 275 Pipestone Road, 2-6 p.m.
  • Southwest Community Action Agency (Self-service pick-up), 331 Miller St., 10-2 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 23

  • Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, 10 a.m.-noon.

Sunday, Oct. 24

  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Ave., 3-5 p.m.
  • Brotherhood of All Nations, 516 Emery Ave., 4-6 p.m.

Additional dates and locations for bottled water pick up will be added to make sure community needs are met. Information will be posted on Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

Free bottled water is being provided by the state as residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula.

Efforts to support homebound residents and residents without transportation are also underway. To arrange water delivery to homebound or residents without transportation in the city of Benton Harbor, please contact 211, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

MDHHS is engaging in a long-term effort to eliminate lead action level exceedances, educate communities on the effects of lead in drinking water, and remove lead service lines.

These actions are part of an accelerated, across-the-board effort to reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water while the city replaces all lead service lines. This collaborative effort includes the City of Benton Harbor, the Berrien County Health Department, local community organizations, MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

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

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