Lead Action Level Exceedance in the City of Benton Harbor
Updated october 2021: Important information for City of benton harbor residents
City of Benton Harbor residents are being asked to use free bottled water while work is completed to provide assurance that efforts like filtering are proving effective in reducing lead exposure.
- Brushing teeth
- Rinsing foods
- Mixing powdered infant formula
Tap water can continue to be used for:
- Showering or bathing
- Washing hands, dishes or clothes
WATER FILTER DISTRIBUTION for City of Benton Harbor:
Residents have several options available to get a water filter or replacement cartridge:
1. Pick up filtration system or replacement filter cartridge at the Berrien County Health Department office.
2. If you are homebound or unable to get to a distribution location, we can mail a replacement filter cartridge to your home. Call 1-800-815-5485 to request a replacement filter cartridge be mailed to you.
3. Visit the Spectrum Health Lakeland Center for Better Health in Benton Harbor.
Visit shlcenterforbetterhealth.org or call 269-408-2258 to reach the Center for Better Health.
Latest Updates for residents as of 8/4/21:
August 4, 2021 - Action Level Exceedance Public Advisory/Education Documents
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require public water supplies to test regularly for lead and copper in drinking water. The regularly scheduled testing discovered lead was in the water and that at least 10% of the samples tested had lead levels that exceeded the "action level" of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in water. More information about water testing in the City of Benton Harbor can be found on the City of Benton Harbor Website.
When at least 10% of the samples tested exceed the action level for lead in drinking water (15ppb), public health officials recommend precautionary actions to protect residents - especially those most at risk of harm to their health, including children and fetuses. Lead exposure can pose a serious health risk for children because their bodies and nervous systems are still developing. The use of water filters is recommended in any residence served by the City of Benton Harbor water system that is home to a child or a pregnant woman. However, free filters are being provided to any City of Benton Harbor resident who would like one.
In homes with children or pregnant women, the Berrien County Health Department also recommends using only cold filtered (or bottled) water for drinking, rinsing food, cooking, mixing powdered infant formula, and brushing teeth. When buying a water filter, make sure it is certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and maintaining the filter.