Benton Harbor’s water meets lead standards for the third consecutive time, the state says

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy announced Monday that drinking water in Benton Harbor met standards for lead levels in the latest round of monitoring, marking the third straight six months that lead readings have been below the federal action level.

Benton Harbor was placed under a state advisory in 2018 after high levels of lead were found in the city’s drinking water, prompting six-monthly reviews instead of annual sampling. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause brain damage and developmental delays. About 10 thousand people use the drinking water network of the city.

EGLE tested water at 65 locations, including 39 residential locations, between July 1 and December 31 last year. Ninety percent of the test results showed the water had a lead level of nine parts per billion or less. No level of lead is considered safe, especially for children.

Two residential sites had lead levels above 15 parts per billion, the federal action level for lead safety. EGLE said the main service lines at these sites were replaced after the samples were taken.

The latest sampling round showed lead levels that were lower than the previous two sampling rounds, marking the third time in a row in 18 months that Benton Harbor’s drinking water has met the safety standard.

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