Benton Harbor water service fully restored after water main break

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("Faucet" by https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/, CC BY 2.0)

The Benton Harbor water system is fully re-pressurized and residents are encouraged to flush their household water pipes and use water for high-volume purposes like bathing in the wake of Wednesday’s water main break that left much of the city without water.

State and local officials continue to advise the use of bottled water for cooking, drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, rinsing foods, and mixing powdered infant formula. The city remains under a bottled water advisory for lead contamination out of an abundance of caution to reduce the risk of lead.

EGLE offers the following guidance for Benton Harbor residents to ensure health and safety in the wake of the water main break:

  • Residents should continue to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, rinsing foods, and mixing powdered infant formula.
  • The city will continue to be under a bottled water advisory out of an abundance of caution to reduce the risk of lead even after water services is restored.
  • After the water pressure is restored, residents should flush the water taps for five minutes before using the water for washing hands, showering or bathing.
  • For faucets with removable aerators remove them first – small screens that trap sediments –remove them and clean any debris that has accumulated. How to clean your aerator
  • The water may have discoloration after service is restored. This is due to sediment disruption within the water lines caused by the disruption in pressure. Residents should run water until it is clear before using for showering, bathing and other non-consuming activities.
  • Flush toilets at least twice to move fresh water through the plumbing.
  • For faucets and showers: If possible, remove faucet aerators before flushing. Run cold water taps at full flow for several minutes first, followed by hot water taps.
  • Run an empty load in dishwashers and washing machines to clear the water lines.

Bottled water deliveries were made today and will continue into the weekend to homebound residents who could not visit a distribution site and were in need of emergency water supplies. Residents can pick up free water at the following locations through the weekend:

  • October 23rd, 10AM to 12PM, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive
  • October 23rd, 4PM to 6PM, Harbor of Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 769 Pipestone
  • October 24th, 3PM to 5PM, Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Avenue
  • October 24th, 4PM to 6PM, Brotherhood of All Nations, 1286 Monroe Street

Residents who cannot not visit a distribution site and need emergency water delivery can call the Berrien County Health Department hotline at 1-800-815-5485 or 2-1-1, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Additional dates and locations for bottled water pick up will be added to make sure community needs are met. Information will be posted on Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

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