Governor Whitmer visits the first main service line replacement construction site in Benton Harbor since the call to replace 100% of LSL

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Governor Whitmer visits the first main service line replacement construction site in Benton Harbor since the call to replace 100% of LSL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 9, 2021

Contact: [email protected]

Governor Whitmer visits the first main service line replacement construction site in Benton Harbor since the call to replace 100% of LSL

Governor Joins Community Meeting, Provides Updates on Ongoing Progress to Meet Governor’s Commitment to Replace 100% of Benton Harbor Main Service Lines in 18 Months

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited a construction site in Benton Harbor where the first lead service lines (LSL) are being replaced after her commitment to replace 100% of the city’s LSL in 18 months. The governor also attended a weekly local community meeting and listened to local leaders and residents. She highlighted the executive directives she signed, the funding she secured, and anticipated the $ 1.3 billion Michigan is expected to receive from the two-party federal infrastructure program for water infrastructure improvements.

“Today I visited a construction site in Benton Harbor where we are moving earth to replace 100% of the lead service lines in the city,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am proud of the progress we are making and I expect a lot more. I have no doubts that we can meet our goal of replacing 100% of the lead service lines at Benton Harbor within 18 months and using the $ 1.3 billion that lies ahead. of the bipartite federal water infrastructure bill to protect drinking water in every community. Later, I attended a weekly community meeting and heard firsthand from people in the field doing the work to help the residents. We will not rest until each parent feels confident. to give their child a glass of water knowing it is safe. “

“Boots on the ground, dirt in the air and money put to work,” said Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “We need to remove the lead from Benton Harbor as soon as possible and this funding will replace approximately 100 lead service lines at this time. an aggressive 18-month schedule to ensure families have access to safe drinking water. ”

“Every Michigander deserves access to water he can trust and trust to give to his family,” said Director of MDHHS Elizabeth Hertel. “Replacing the main service lines at Benton Harbor is an important step in ensuring the residents of Benton Harbor have safe and clean drinking water. Throughout this process, the department and our many state, local and community partners are committed to providing all the resources we have to the families of Benton Harbor. “

“Clean water is not a luxury. a fundamental necessity,” noted Representative Fred Upton. “Last October, I helped secure $ 5.6 million for the replacement of lead pipes in Benton Harbor, and yesterday the mayor and I saw with my own eyes the hard-working crews excavating the dirt and replacing these. contaminated pipes. effort to ensure that residents of Benton Harbor and across the country have access to safe drinking water. Period. “

Main service lines

Benton Harbor Lead Service Replacement

The estimated cost to replace 100% of the LSLs at Benton Harbor is $ 30 million. The state of Michigan has so far provided $ 18.6 million, including $ 10 million in the recently signed budget for fiscal year 2022, $ 3 million from the MI Clean Water plan and a grant of 5.6 million dollars for improved water infrastructure for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Nation Act.

With $ 18.6 million of the $ 30 million allocated to date, Benton Harbor still needs at least $ 11.4 million to replace 100% of its LSLs over the next 18 months. Today, Governor Whitmer called on the legislature to secure the remaining funding by using the billions of federal funds available for Michigan as part of the US bailout.

The FY2022 budget also includes $ 15 million in emergency water funds currently used to provide bottled water in Benton Harbor, among other key uses.

Main service lines

Under Michigan’s nationwide lead-and-copper rule, every community is required to replace 5% of its LSL each year, which means a 100% replacement in 20 years. However, any community experiencing an Action Level Exceedance, or ALE, is required to replace their LSLs at a rate of 7% per year, which means 100% completion in just under 15 years. Governor Whitmer laid out a plan to dramatically accelerate that timeline by investing an additional $ 200 million to ensure faster replacement of LSLs in communities across the state.

With additional federal funding provided under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the state of Michigan will receive billions of additional dollars to repair its infrastructure, including lead pipelines.

Lead

There is no such thing as a safe lead level. Exposure to lead interferes with brain development in children and causes short- and long-term health problems in adults. The main causes of lead exposure are drinking water and paint. About 34 million homes have lead-based paint and about 9.2 million have lead pipes. Michigan’s top priority is simple: clean drinking water for everyone. Residents should visit MI Lead Safe (michigan.gov/lead) to see all of the resources and guides available.

Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration Actions

Since the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration took office in January 2019, the state of Michigan has invested more in its water infrastructure than the previous five years, from 2014 to 2018 combined.

The governor launched the MI Clean Water plan to invest $ 700 million in the construction of drinking water supply and sanitation infrastructure while supporting 10,000 well-paying jobs. The plan addresses high water levels, tackles toxic contaminants like PFAS, builds sewage systems and septic tanks that cannot meet demand, and replaces lead service lines. In addition to the MI Clean Water plan, Michigan has invested millions in drinking water, storm water and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting thousands of local jobs.

The administration established health-based PFAS standards for drinking water, held polluters accountable, and created state-wide positions to pursue environmental justice and advocate for drinking water. while continuing to apply the country’s strictest lead and copper rule.

Clean Water Executive Directive

Last week, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive to improve the protection of Michigan’s drinking water. The comprehensive 6-part directive will seek to tighten regulations, provide more resources, expand community engagement, and more.

To view the full Executive Directive, click on the link below:

ED 2021-09, Guaranteeing the safety of drinking water.pdf

Benton Harbor Executive Directive

In October, Governor Whitmer signed a directive to build on efforts underway in various departments and by critical stakeholder groups and community leaders, ensuring that the state government and its partners all row in the same direction and laser focus on common goals.

Here are some of the actions taken by the DE:

  • Residents of Benton Harbor should continue to have access to free bottled water until further notice.
  • Residents should be offered free or low-cost services related to lead, including, but not limited to, drinking water testing and health services.
  • The State of Michigan will work closely with federal partners, county officials, city officials, and community leaders to communicate up-to-date information and leverage all available resources to expedite the replacement of major service lines.

To view the full Executive Directive, click on the link below:

ED 2021-06, Benton Harbor.pdf

Federal investment in water

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will send Michigan $ 1.3 billion to improve water infrastructure, including replacement of lead service lines, to ensure water availability. drinking water in all communities.

In addition, the Bipartite infrastructure OK sends Michigan:

  • $ 7.3 billion to repair roads and $ 563 million to replace or repair bridges.
  • $ 1 billion to improve public transportation statewide.
  • $ 100 million to expand high-speed Internet access to an additional 398,000 Michigan residents.
  • $ 110 million to strengthen the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Watch a video of Governor Whitmer’s visit here or by clicking on the first image below:

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