Michigan: City of Benton Harbor Water Resource Fair is todayInformation to help reduce lead exposure, on site blood lead testing and bottled water available during the event happening 4 to 7 p.m.
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Dec. 16, 2021
CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. - The City of Benton Harbor Water Resource Fair is slated for today  at Benton Harbor High School, 870 Colfax Avenue, from 4 to 7 p.m. Families will be able to get information about services and resources available to City of Benton Harbor residents to help reduce or eliminate lead from their homes.

Resources will include health services, food assistance, water use instruction, nutrition options and information on lead. Free bottled water will also be available at the event.

InterCare Community Health Network will be offering on-site blood lead testing for attendees of all ages. Although blood lead tests cannot tell you if you were exposed to lead in the past, testing is particularly important for young children and pregnant persons because exposure to lead early in life has been shown to potentially cause problems with learning, behavior, hearing and growth. For individuals who have elevated blood lead levels, the goals are to identify the source of lead, stop the lead exposure and to talk with their doctor to discuss any other tests or follow-up that might be needed.

The resource fair is a collaborative effort that will include information and representatives from local community organizations, the City of Benton Harbor, Berrien County Health Department, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Attendees are asked to wear masks and masks will be available at the event, if needed.

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.

Community volunteers from the following organizations available to assist City of Benton Harbor residents pick up water at Benton Harbor High School, 870 Colfax Avenue as follows:

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Saturday, Dec. 18
  • 12 - 2 p.m. - Volunteers from Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor
  • 2 - 4 p.m. - Volunteers from New Covenant Community Baptist Church
  • 4 - 6 p.m. - Volunteers from Harbor of Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Sunday, Dec. 19
  • 2 - 4 p.m. - Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
  • 4 - 6 pm - Volunteers from Brotherhood of All Nations

Monday, Dec. 20
  • 12 - 2 p.m. - Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
  • 4 - 6 p.m. - Volunteers from New Covenant Community Baptist Church

Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • 12 - 2 p.m. - Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
  • 4 - 6 p.m. - Volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church

Wednesday, Dec. 22
  • 12 - 2 p.m. - Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries
  • 4 - 6 p.m. - Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries

Thursday, Dec. 23
  • 12 - 2 p.m. - Volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • 4 - 6 p.m. - Volunteers from Brotherhood of All Nations

Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, will host self-serve water pickup as follows:
  • Friday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 23, 10 a.m. - 2 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.

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. The upcoming schedule for bottled water pickup is:

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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.

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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Note to media: Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad is attending the City of Benton Harbor Water Resource Fair at 4 p.m. and will be available for interviews at that time.

Filed Under: Government, State

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