Governor Whitmer proposes plan that includes replacing lead service lines in Benton Harbor

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday a $200 million proposed expansion of the MI Clean Water Plan to remove lead service lines across the state, including in Benton Harbor.

$20 million of that $200 million is set to be used to replace 100% of the service lines in Benton Harbor in five years.

The state also plans to ensure all families in Benton Harbor have access to the free installation of in-home drinking water filters and lead awareness training during the accelerated water infrastructure upgrade work.

"Every Michigander deserves access to safe drinking water and every community deserves lead-free pipes,” said Governor Whitmer. "We must make long-overdue upgrades to our water infrastructure and build on the progress we have made under the MI Clean Water Plan to replace lead pipes, fix sewer systems, and tackle PFAS in our water supply. I will work to get people the help they need right now and make lasting, structural investments in infrastructure to protect public health.”

The city of Benton Harbor has approximately 6,000 water service lines, with most consisting of lead or unknown materials.

Replacing the city’s water service lines will cost nearly $30 million. Under the existing $500 million MI Clean Water Plan, which sets aside $102 million for lead service line replacement, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will award a $3 million allocation through the State Revolving Fund next month to Benton Harbor.

That $3 million investment will be added to the proposed $20 million announced today and the $5.6 million grant the City of Benton Harbor received from the EPA earlier this year.

“I am grateful for this investment in our community and committed to working with our partners at the state level to help families have access to safe drinking water," said Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “My office, the Berrien County Health Department, and the state health department are committed to providing filters to families and using the $20 million investment to replace 100% of our lead service lines in five years. Together, I know we can get this done.”

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