Community partners providing bottled water delivery to homebound and those without transportation in the City of Benton Harbor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 17, 2021

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working with several local partners to support water weekly to City of Benton Harbor residents who are homebound or without transportation.

Organizations making these deliveries include MOSAIC CCDA, SBC Benevolent Ministries, Greater Community Christian Fellowship and Harbor Hope Seventh Day Adventist.

"We are incredibly grateful to the residents and community organizations in the City of Benton Harbor for their willingness to pitch in and help ensure all families have access to clean, safe drinking water," said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. "They are making deliveries across the city so all residents have bottled water for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and mixing powdered infant formula."

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.

Free bottled water continues to be provided by MDHHS and local, paid residents as City of Benton Harbor residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula.

This action is 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.

The upcoming schedule for bottled water pickup is:

Thursday, Nov. 18

  • Ebenezer Baptist Church, 214 E. Britain Avenue, 10 a.m. - noon.
  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Self-service)
  • Brotherhood of All Nations, 1286 Monroe Street, 4 - 6 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 19

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Self-service)

Saturday, Nov. 20

  • Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.,
  • Harbor of Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 769 Pipestone Street, 4 - 6 p.m. 

Sunday, Nov. 21

  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Avenue, 3 - 5 p.m.
  • Brotherhood of All Nations, 1286 Monroe Street, 4 - 6 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 22

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Self-service)
  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Avenue, noon - 2 p.m.

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.

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.

To ensure the continued success of bottled water distribution locations in Benton Harbor and to recognize the city residents who have been stepping up to donate their time and talent, the State of Michigan has partnered with local agencies to pay city residents who work at state-supported bottled water distribution sites. Individuals who want to serve as community ambassadors to help distribute water should connect with an established distribution site. Individuals or groups who want to serve as unpaid volunteers can sign up on the United Way's online platform.

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. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor in 18 months and the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration has provided just under $20 million to Benton Harbor to speed up their service line replacement timeline.  

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 can be returned to Abonmarche, 95 West Main Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or emailed to bvasher@abonmarche.com.

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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