Benton Harbor officials are continuing their effort to combat lead

BENTON HARBOR, Mich – Benton Harbor city officials are continuing to combat elevated lead levels in the city’s water.  

“We’ve heard the whole gambit of this is the worst thing ever to it’s not as bad as everyone makes it, what we’re trying to do is give people a comfort level that the city’s water is safe,” Benton Harbor City Manager Darwin Watson said.  

Benton Harbor city officials say the city of Benton Harbor routinely check the city’s water and during one of these routine checks is where elevated lead levels were found which is considered anything over 15 parts per billion but what they’ve been doing since is where they’ve taken action.  

“There’s action because it’s an action level and there’s actions that we’d have to take which includes retesting, it includes an investigation, it includes helping out those that are identified above that action level,” Watson said. 

Courtney Davis with the Berrien County Health Department says there are many ways someone could be exposed to lead including obvious ways like lead based paint but with exposure to lead in water, chronic exposure is where there is a cause for concern about long term effects

“Clearly any lead exposure is not what we want to see but that repeated chronic exposure that leads to the long-term effects which are most critical,” Berrien County Deputy Health Official Courtney Davis said. 

Long-term effects from lead exposure include developmental delay, irritability, and learning difficulties. 

The city of Benton Harbor received a $300,000 grant to check pipes both under their control which is from the street to the property line and those under the citizens control which is from the property line to the home. 

When asked Benton Harbor City Manager Darwin Watson says he would like Benton Harbor citizens see the city’s efforts to solve this issue.

“What I would like them to say if I could put it in words is that the city found out and it was very swift in what they did, the city was very forthright in the information that was given and we are trying to get answers,” Watson said. 

The city of Benton Harbor continues to hand out water test kits for anyone concerned about their water. 

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