Governor Whitmer signs executive directive to deliver safe drinking water to Benton Harbor

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive aimed at ensuring Benton Harbor residents have access to safe drinking water.

The directive implements an all-hands-on-deck government approach that will bring together multiple levels of government, including state, federal, and local, to work together to guarantee water is safe for residents.

Some of the actions the directive takes includes the following:

  • Residents of Benton Harbor must continue to have access to free bottled water until further notice.
  • Residents must be offered free or low-cost lead-related services including but not limited to drinking water testing and health services.
  • The State of Michigan will collaborate closely with federal partners, county officials, city officials, and community leaders to communicate up-to-date information and leverage every available resource to accelerate lead service line replacement.

Governor Whitmer also said the government plans to accelerate the timeline to ensure all pipes are lead-free in the next 18 months.

A request was submitted by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to confirm authorization of WIC ready-to-feed formula so that eligible WIC clients in the City of Benton Harbor can receive access to formula that does not required mixing with water.

A notification was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand the use of Medicaid Child Health Insurance Program Health Services Initiative funds so that households with children under 19 years of age enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan, or a pregnant person enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan, would be eligible for a free investigation into lead hazards within in the home.

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