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Whitmer signs directive on Benton Harbor water, plans to replace all lead service lines in 18 months

Courtesy Governor Whitmer's Twitter

High levels of lead were first detected in Benton Harbor’s drinking water in 2018. Recent city data found a lead level of 889 parts per billion in some homes. That’s more than 59 times the federal safe limit of 15 parts per billion.

This year’s citywide reading was 24 parts per billion, but it was only last week that the state advised all residents to only use bottled water for household purposes.

On Thursday, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive that rolls out an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to the lead situation.

As part of that, the state will expedite lead service line replacements in Benton Harbor with a goal of replacing all of the lines in 18 months.

The directive also says residents of Benton Harbor will continue to get free bottled water and free or low-cost lead-related water testing and health services.

Speaking in Benton Harbor, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist [GAR-lin GILL-krist] said the state will be sending 35,000 gallons of bottled water to the city by truck each Monday until the water is safe.

The state will also provide direct shipments of bottled water to Benton Harbor schools.