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Volunteers helping bottled water distribution in Benton Harbor to be payed by Department of Health and Human Services

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is starting to pay volunteers helping with bottled water distribution in Benton Harbor.

The paid “community ambassadors” must live within Benton Harbor city limits, and receive community volunteering organization approval.

The state began distributing bottled water in Benton Harbor in late September because of elevated lead levels in tap water.

MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel says she hopes this is a temporary solution until the city can go back to using filtered water.

We felt like it was the right thing to do to make sure that we are able to support that community in getting that water out to them," Hertel said. "I think that the city and the state, along with the EPA, have taken all of the necessary steps to continue to change that water chemistry to make it that it is able to be used with a filter."

The State Health Department says over 100-thousand cases of water have been handed out so far. Other communities with elevated lead levels, according to state standards, include the Cities of Hamtramck, Wayne, and Manchester.