Benton Harbor water meets lead standards for second round of consecutive tests
Lead Service Line Replacements Surpass 70% Mark, State Commitments to Bottled Water, Filters Unchanged
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) today announced that the City of Benton Harbor’s water system has met the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule ( LCR) from the State of Michigan during the last six-month sampling period. Test results released today were the third consecutive sampling period to show a decline in lead levels, keeping the city just below the federal action level.*
Samples taken from faucets across the city at 63 residences from January 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022 were used in the compliance calculations. The lab analysis published by EGLE showed results ranging from no detection of lead to 53 parts per billion (ppb). Five samples contained more than 15 ppb of lead – the federal action level.
The 90th percentile* value was 14 ppb during this sampling period. During the previous sampling period, covering the second half of 2021, samples from 63 residences in the city yielded a 90th percentile* value of 15 ppb.
“This is good news and an indication that Benton Harbor’s drinking water system remains stable as the city accelerates this critical infrastructure work,” said Eric Oswald, director of the Drinking Water Division and of Environmental Health (DWEHD) of EGLE. “That said, today’s news does not lessen the urgency of our continued efforts to help the city aggressively reduce lead exposure – through replacement of lead service lines and anti-corrosion treatment. “
To date, over 70% of Benton Harbor’s service line connections have been excavated and, if lead or galvanized, replaced with new copper service lines.
“This is an important step forward for our community as we work to ensure Benton Harbor has access to safe drinking water,” said Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “We appreciate the support and continued commitment of the State of Michigan and the EPA as we work together to move Benton Harbor forward.”
EGLE technical experts continue to work with Benton Harbor water plant personnel to ensure the designated corrosion control treatment is optimal. Corrosion control is achieved by introducing a phosphate mixture into the water supply to coat service lines and lead fixtures, which reduces the amount of lead that dissolves when water comes in contact with these. materials.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reaching out to all Benton Harbor residences where LCR tests show an overshoot to offer additional water testing and other services to help reduce and protect residents from lead. All homes in the Town of Benton Harbor are eligible for a free lead inspection and the reduction of lead hazards discovered during that inspection. Families living in Benton Harbor can apply for this service by completing and submitting an application available online. Residents can also call 866-691-5323 for information.
The state will also continue to provide residents with bottled water while additional assurance testing is underway in Benton Harbor to increase community confidence in the safety of their drinking water and ensure it is safe. meets state and federal safe drinking water standards. The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) has filters available, and residents can get one free by picking one up at BCHD at 2149 E. Napier Ave., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. h or by calling the drinking water hotline. at 844-934-1315.
City, county and state officials have stressed there are no changes to current guidelines for residents to use filtered or bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing food and mixing powdered infant formula. EGLE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will also continue to work with the city on operational and infrastructural improvements to the drinking water system to ensure it continues to perform to environmental standards. drinking water safety.
“Everyone deserves clean water and Benton Harbor is no exception,” said Benton Harbor resident Ruthie McCoy Haralson. “It’s good to know that our water continues to be tested and meets federal lead standards. As a senior here in Benton Harbor, I have witnessed many changes in our city, and I am pleased to see that the City of Benton Harbor and the State of Michigan continue to step up their efforts to remove the lines of lead in our community. and make the safety of our drinking water a top priority. Great job, we deserve it.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer remains committed to removing lead service lines across the city in 18 months, as outlined in Executive Directive 2021-6 in October 2021. Replacement program progress and other information is available via a replacement for the Benton Harbor lead service line – LSLR – state dash.
*Exceedances of the federal action level are based on lead levels in the 90th percentile of samples taken during a sampling period. For example, if 60 water samples are tested and more than six are above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), that would count as an exceedance of the lead action level. An exceedance occurs when a community’s 90th percentile value for lead during a sampling period is greater than 15 ppb.