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Elevated lead levels found in the drinking water of more Benton Harbor homes

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Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

More homes in Benton Harbor have tested positive for elevated levels of lead in the water.

The city was put under an advisory for its drinking water results in October.

Since then, another 27 homes out of 159 tested have shown levels of lead that are above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.

Ten of those homes had levels more than double the action level.

In October, city leaders said they were investigating how the lead got into city water. As Michigan Radio reported then

Benton Harbor city manager Darwin Watson says it’s still not clear whether the lead came from the city’s water pipes, or from pipes under the homes. “That’s what we’re investigating," Watson says. "We’re trying to find out what the cause of it is. And as we find out and work with the homeowners and the ones who come get testing, we will then disseminate that information as we become more familiar with it.”

Full results from this round of testing were posted to the city’s website. You can find them here.

People in those homes have been notified, and the city has offered bottled water to homes with high lead levels. More test results are expected in the coming weeks.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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