EPA Orders Michigan City to Fix Drains, Better Educate Residents to Help End Water Crisis

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) orders a Michigan city to repair its pipes and notify the community of updates regarding the lead contamination issue affecting residents.

On Tuesday, the EPA released a Press release informing residents of Benton Harbor, Mich. of the executive order put in place to remedy recent violations that were discovered during a joint federal-state inspection of the water supply system. The decree is governed by the federal law on the safety of drinking water.

“The people of Benton Harbor have suffered for too long,” EPA administrator Michael S. Regan said in the press release. “The EPA is fully engaged and working to support the community, and today we take another crucial step in ensuring that drinking water is safe and reliable.”

“Exposure to lead in children can have irreversible and permanent health effects, including decreased IQ, concentration and academic achievement,” continued Regan. “Benton Harbor’s water infrastructure, like many cities across the country, needs upgrades and investments to build resilience and protect people from lead. “

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) orders a Michigan city to repair its pipes and notify the community of updates regarding the lead contamination issue affecting residents. In the photo above, a water tap.
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In accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA asks Benton Harbor:

  • Inform consumers when excessive action levels of lead are detected in drinking water.
  • Inform chlorine applications for disinfection.
  • Implement strict requirements for residual disinfectants and other by-products.
  • Make filter repairs in treatment plans
  • Engage an independent third party to analyze alternatives for long-term operation and maintenance of the water system.

EPA also offers Benton Harbor the ability to utilize the services of a Compliance Advisor to provide direct, one-on-one technical assistance to water system operators.

Benton Harbor is not the only city to experience recent infrastructure issues with its water system.

Officials from Hamtramck, Mich. Released a report earlier this month indicating that lead levels in the city’s water are 17 parts per billion (ppb), exceeding the action level of l ‘State of 15 ppb.

The town of Hamtramck said in a press release that “the target for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb” and that “there is no safe blood lead level”. The city, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, plans to distribute free water filters to residents of Hamtramck.

Residents will receive “a free water filter with replacement cartridges for residents of Hamtramck on October 21,” according to the press release. “Further distribution events will be scheduled and published in the coming weeks.”

Newsweek has contacted the town of Benton Harbor for comment.


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