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Bottled water distributed in Benton Harbor; lead concern continues

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Over 15,000 cases of bottled water are being delivered to Benton Harbor distribution centers in the coming days.

The state is giving away free water as part of an effort to address lead levels.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced that she wants to give the city $20 million to replace their lead pipes.

“There’s a need here in Benton Harbor, in the city. We are a community action agency and we came to action when the state reached out to us and asked us if we distribute the water. We also distribute food, so this is something that we do on a monthly basis and now we are just doing it more with water,” said Kim Smith-Oldham, Executive Director at Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency.

State officials said they want to protect the health and safety of residents and are working to remove lead service lines.

“Some people have had to get water filters and now it’s the water again. Yes, it has been frustrating,” said Volunteer Pamela Bridwell.

The EPA is also reportedly conducting a filter effectiveness study to gather more data.

Meantime, residents are being asked to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth.

Unfiltered tap water can be used for showering, washing your hands and doing dishes.

“Good clean, water. We have a difficult time right now with our water here in Benton Harbor. If I can sum this up: When I rise up, you rise up. When you rise up, we rise up. Rise up Benton Harbor, come get your water,” said Volunteer Keyma Shepard.

They are giving away 3 cases per person.

“Me and my varsity teammates, we came out to do some good in the community because a lot of bad stuff goes around and we want to show it’s not all bad,” said Benton Harbor High School Student Denium Potts.

The next distribution day is Oct. 8 at God’s Household of Faith from 2 - 5 p.m.

Residents who cannot pick up water and need it delivered to their homes, should call 866-691-5323.