Michigan city declares state of emergency over lead-contaminated water

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Officials in Benton Harbor, Mich., Announced a state of emergency earlier this week as part of an ongoing effort to replace the city’s lead pipes, CNN reports.

Driving the news: The state of emergency, enacted Monday by the City Commission, was intended to trigger a comprehensive government approach to replace several lead pipes that have contaminated the city’s water supply.

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  • A water main rupture occurred Tuesday in Benton Harbor, ultimately causing a loss of water pressure throughout the city, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

  • As of this week, more than 71,000 cases of free bottled water have been distributed to residents of Benton Harbor since the crisis began in September, according to the department.

  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) has asked the state legislature to provide an additional investment of $ 11.4 million to help replace the city’s lead pipes.

What they say : “We understand that the residents of Benton Harbor are going through very stressful times, ”said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement.

  • “I want them to know that the state is fully committed to ensuring that families have access to safe drinking water,” she added.

  • “Every Michigander deserves clean drinking water,” Whitmer said in a press release Tuesday. “We won’t rest until every parent feels able to give their child a drink of water knowing it is safe.”

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