LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy announced on Wednesday a $200 million proposed expansion of the MI Clean Water Plan to remove lead service lines across the state.
The governor also called on the legislature to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to improve access to safe drinking water, and wants to use every federal, state and local resource available to replace 100% of the lead service lines in Benton Harbor in five years.
State officials want all families in Benton Harbor to have access to free installation of in-home drinking water filters and lead awareness training during the accelerated water infrastructure upgrade work.
Benton Harbor recently reported a lead exceedance under Michigan’s Lead and Copper Rule.
“Every Michigander deserves access to safe drinking water and every community deserves lead-free pipes,” Whitmer said. “We must make long-overdue upgrades to our water infrastructure and build on the progress we have made under the MI Clean Water Plan to replace lead pipes, fix sewer systems and tackle PFAS in our water supply. I will work to get people the help they need right now and make lasting, structural investments in infrastructure to protect public health. I urge leaders in Washington to come together to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act so we can replace lead service lines nationwide, and ensure every parent can give their kid a glass of water at the dinner table with confidence that it’s safe.”
Benton Harbor has about 6,000 water service lines, with most consisting of lead or unknown materials.
Replacing the city’s water service lines is estimated to cost almost $30 million.