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"Water Box" system available in Benton Harbor to cut down on need for bottled water; state still rec

There’s now one more option for Benton Harbor residents to get filtered water. Residents can now get water in larger jugs, through a filtered water system set up at the Benton Harbor Housing Commission.

The system is the same as those set up previously in Flint, but the a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state is still recommending bottled water only for residents.

A list of upcoming bottled water distribution sites is available online here.

Sheila Hill is executive director of the Benton Harbor Housing Commission, where the new "Water Box" system is installed. She said residents have been coming in to use the system in order to have water in larger containers. People can get water from the Water Box in three or five gallon jugs.

“It gets quite cumbersome to be able to cook in the kitchen and opening up bottle after bottle of water,” Hill said. “Not to mention the recycling nightmare that the bottled water may create in your house.”

The filtered water system, called the Water Box, is made by a non-profit called 501CTHREE.

Hill said residents can get water at the housing commission’s office at 721 Nate Wells Sr. Drive. The commission office is open Monday through Thursday.

More information on bottled water distribution in Benton Harbor is available online here.

The state of Michigan says residents who need additional information, or who need help paying for utility bills, can call 211.

Update: This story has been updated to include the recommendation from MDHHS for Benton Harbor residents to drink bottled water only.

Copyright 2021 Michigan Radio

Dustin Dwyer is a reporter for a new project at Michigan Radio that will look at improving economic opportunities for low-income children. Previously, he worked as an online journalist for Changing Gears, as a freelance reporter and as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Before he joined Michigan Radio, Dustin interned at NPR's Talk of the Nation, wrote freelance stories for The Jackson Citizen-Patriot and completed a Reporting & Writing Fellowship at the Poynter Institute.