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Administrator Wheeler Announces $5.6 Million Grant to Remove Lead Service Lines in Benton Harbor

$39.9 Million Announced Nationwide will Fund Projects to Protect Children in Disadvantaged Communities and Schools from Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

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BENTON HARBOR (Oct. 23, 2020) — Today, at an event with U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that the City of Benton Harbor was selected to receive a $5.6 million grant. This funding will help remove lead service lines and support a study to optimize the city’s lead corrosion control treatment to improve public health in Benton Harbor.

“Ensuring that Americans have safe drinking water, regardless of their zip code, is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Replacing lead water service lines as quickly as possible is an investment in our children’s future and America’s future. Our agency will do everything it can to ensure that Great Lakes communities like Benton Harbor have safe drinking water and clean water for recreation, which in turn will directly benefit the local economy.”

“This Administration continues to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring communities like Benton Harbor have access to safe, clean drinking water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “These issues have been affecting communities across the country for too long, and the Administration has made safeguarding our water supply a top priority of this agency.”

“In these unprecedented times with so much uncertainty, families should be able to be certain about this: their drinking water is safe for their children, friends, and loved ones,” said U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06). “Today’s announcement takes an important step to ensuring just that. This is a critically serious issue, and we need to continue to come together to guarantee safe drinking water for southwest Michigan’s communities.”

In advance of next week’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, EPA is making the first-ever selections under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act’s Reduction in Lead Exposure via Drinking Water by announcing $39.9 million in grant funding for ten projects. EPA anticipates that it will award the City of Benton Harbor a grant in the amount of $5.6 million once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. The city will use the EPA grant funding to help replace as many residential lead service lines as possible. Service lines will be replaced from the water main to the home’s service connection—including both the public and private portions of the lead service line. Additionally, a study to optimize corrosion treatment, which helps reduce the levels of lead in drinking water where lead material is still present, will help ensure long term stability and reduction of lead throughout the drinking water system.

In addition to announcing these WIIN Act grants, EPA is helping finance projects that remove sources of lead in drinking water through the new and innovative Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program and through the State Revolving Funds. Under the Water Infrastructure Fund Transfer Act (WIFTA), Michigan made a one-time transfer of $102 million from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) for lead-related, DWSRF-eligible projects.


The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America's drinking water infrastructure. Included in the WIIN Act are three drinking water grants that promote public health and the protection of the environment. Since 2018, EPA has made available more than $69 million to support testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs and $42.8 million to assist public water systems in underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

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Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces that the City of Benton Harbor was selected to receive a $5.6 million grantAdministrator Andrew Wheeler announces that the City of Benton Harbor was selected to receive a $5.6 million grant