LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)–Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy proposed $200 million to remove lead service lines statewide.

They called on the federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan to improve access to safe drinking water.

“Every Michigander deserves access to safe drinking water and every community deserves lead-free pipes,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must make long-overdue upgrades to our water infrastructure and build on the progress we have made under the MI Clean Water Plan to replace lead pipes, fix sewer systems, and tackle PFAS in our water supply. I will work to get people the help they need right now and make lasting, structural investments in infrastructure to protect public health. I urge leaders in Washington to come together to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act so we can replace lead service lines nationwide, and ensure every parent can give their kid a glass of water at the dinner table with confidence that it’s safe.” 

Governor Whitmer announced  $20 million under today’s proposal to replace all of the lead service lines in Benton Harbor in five years. Benton Harbor recently reported a high level of lead under Michigan’s strict Lead and Copper Rule.

“I am grateful for this investment in our community and committed to working with our partners at the state level to help families have access to safe drinking water,” said Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. “My office, the Berrien County Health Department, and the state health department are committed to providing filters to families and using the $20 million investment to replace 100% of our lead service lines in five years. Together, I know we can get this done.” 

Today’s proposed expansion is comprised of the following two parts: 

  1. REPLACING MICHIGAN’S LEAD SERVICE LINES: Invest $200 million sent to Michigan under the American Rescue Plan to expand MI Clean Water’s Lead Service Line (LSL)
  2. BENTON HARBOR SUPPORT: Bring together a $20 million investment, technical assistance to create a support program for Benton Harbor to ensure families can access safe drinking water. 
  3. REPLACE LEAD SERVICE LINES: A $20 million investment in Benton Harbor to remove 100% of their lead service lines within 5 years. 
  4. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Support the community’s needs to manage resources and infrastructure projects. 
  5. FILTERS: Enhance partnerships between DHHS, the local health department, to continue providing water filters to families.

“The health of every Michigander is intimately tied to the quality of their drinking water,” said EGLE Director, Liesl Clark. ”This $200 million proposal to modernize our aging, inadequate water infrastructure in communities across Michigan and expedite relief efforts to Benton Harbor is an important step towards protecting public health. Water infrastructure is a priority, and we will continue working together to ensure every Michiganders has access to safe drinking water.”