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Benton Harbor to begin removal and replacement of lead lines starting this week

Posted at 8:55 PM, Nov 07, 2021

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Benton Harbor will begin the removal and replacement of lead lines starting the second week of November.

The governor looks to get it all done in 18 months, with millions of state and federal dollars pouring into the city to see this project through.

Tyrone Snell was one of several people in line at Abundant Life Church of God to get bottled water in Benton Harbor Sunday.

"We can't stack anymore up in there. We bring it in here. This is like the den where people come and sit and chill, but it's been our water storage really. I've got a truck full of water now," Snell told FOX17. 

Snell's house is what it looks like for so many of the nearly 10,000 people who live in the city. Until their lines get replaced, Tyrone and his family will continue to use bottled water.

"We started like I said, we've tried to ration but cooking, eating and making his bottles," Snell said.

The governor put out the call of all hands on deck to get roughly 6,000 lines replaced in 18 months. This father of two has a different opinion on the massive project.

'Do you think they could get it done in 18 months?' "No," he told FOX17.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, an initial grant from the EPA tapped Meeks Contracting Services to remove the first 100 suspected lead lines.

"We've heard nothing about them coming in the area over in this area. And working on lines. We didn't mean to receive anything in the mail saying that they were gonna come and start working on lines," he added.

Benton Harbor says it will notify customers within 2-3 days before work begins. They say the work will take approximately an hour. Tyrone can't wait for this to be over and not have to count on bottled water.

"If we didn't have this water when our kids like I said my mom my main concern is my children. I don't want them to be ingesting lead," he said.

Residents are encouraged to complete the Water Service Line Replacement Agreement online. State officials say contractors cannot begin work on any property without owner authorization.

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