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City officials say Benton Harbor water system operating normally after water main break

PFAS contamination in Michigan
Posted at 12:20 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 12:20:12-04

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Benton Harbor’s water system is back to normal operations Friday and testing shows no evidence of bacterial contamination after a water main break that resulted in a complete loss of pressure Oct. 20.

RELATED: Benton Harbor water main break leads to widespread loss in water pressure

City officials say that after “extensive” flushing of the system to remove any contaminants that may have entered during the water main break, two rounds of bacterial testing from several locations confirmed the water is safe bacteria-wise.

However, residents are still advised to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula because of ongoing issues with lead, according to a news release.

Food establishments can return to guidance issued before the water main break.

Other guidance from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy includes:

  • Now that 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 – small screens that trap sediments – remove them and clean any debris that has accumulated. Then, reinstall the aerator. 
  • Water may have discoloration because of sediment in water lines caused by disruption in pressure. Residents should run water until it is clear before using it for showering, bathing and other non-consuming activities. If water does not run clear, report the problem to the city so officials can respond. 
  • Flush toilets at least twice to move fresh water through the plumbing. 
  • 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. Additional dates and locations for bottled water pickup will be added to make sure community needs are met.