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Governor proposes $200 million for clean water programs - with special attention to Benton Harbor

Crew removing a lead service line in Flint.  Governor Whitmer is proposing $20 million to help Benton Harbor replace all its lead service lines in five years
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Crew removing a lead service line in Flint.  Governor Whitmer is proposing $20 million to help Benton Harbor replace all its lead service lines in five years
Crew removing a lead service line in Flint.  Governor Whitmer is proposing $20 million to help Benton Harbor replace all its lead service lines in five years
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
/
Michigan Radio
Crew removing a lead service line in Flint.  Governor Whitmer is proposing $20 million to help Benton Harbor replace all its lead service lines in five years

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a big investment in the state's Clean Water program, using $200 million of the state's share of federal American Rescue Plan funds -- with special attention for Benton Harbor.  

The federal action level for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion. Benton Harbor's level over the past three years has ranged from 22 to 32 parts of lead per billion.  

Ongoing efforts to replace lead service lines haven't improved the situation.  Lead levels in the city's drinking water are still extremely high. 

The Governor's proposal would use $20 million of American Rescue Plan and other funds to replace every lead service line in the city within five years. 

Her proposal also would help replace lead service lines in other cities across the state, as well as bolster PFAS cleanup efforts. 

State lawmakers would have to approve the plan. 

Copyright 2021 Michigan Radio

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.