BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — Additional hours have been added to the water distribution schedule for Benton Harbor residents on Friday to make sure residents have enough water during the holidays.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced that water will be available to pick up from noon to 3 p.m. at Benton Harbor High School on Friday.

Residents can get additional cases of water this week because the distribution sites will not be open on New Year’s Day, MDHHS said in a press release. Additional quantities of water will also be available during deliveries to the homebound or those without transportation. Self-serve water pick-up will not be available at Southwest Community Action Agency on Friday.

To arrange water delivery to homebound residents or those without transportation in the city of Benton Harbor, MDHHS asks that you contact 211. The phone number can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phones that cannot contact 211 should contact 844.875.9211.

Free bottled water is provided by MDHHS and local, paid residents as city of Benton Harbor residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula. The water is provided in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water while the city replaces all lead service lines.

Community volunteers from the following organizations will be assisting residents with water pick up at Benton Harbor High School, located at 870 Colfax Avenue, at the following times:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 29
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries
    • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries
  • Thursday, Dec. 30
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church
    • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Volunteers from Brotherhood of All Nations
  • Friday, Dec. 31 – NEW
    • Noon – 3 p.m. – Volunteers from New Covenant Community Baptist Church and Purpose Church Ministries
  • Sunday, Jan. 2
    • 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
    • 4 p.m. – 6 pm – Volunteers from Brotherhood of All Nations
  • Monday, Jan. 3
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
    • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Volunteers from New Covenant Community Baptist Church
  • Tuesday, Jan. 4
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Abundant Life C.O.G.I.C.
    • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Wednesday, Jan. 5
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries
    • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Volunteers from Purpose Church Ministries
  • Thursday, Jan. 6
    • Noon – 2 p.m. – Volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Southwest Community Action Agency, located at 331 Miller Street, will host self-serve water pickup as follows:
    • Wednesday, Dec. 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Thursday, Dec. 30, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Wednesday, Jan. 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Thursday, Jan. 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Additional dates and locations for bottled water pick up will be added to make sure community needs are met. Information will be posted on Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has recently called for the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor in 18 months. MDHHS said the state has provided just under $20 million to Benton Harbor to speed up their service line replacement timeline.

There is no cost for residents to have their lead service line replaced, MDHHS said. To assist with assuring the work can be completed as soon as possible, residents are encouraged to complete the Water Service Line Replacement Agreement. MDHHS said contractors cannot begin work on any property without property owner authorization. Completed forms can be returned to Abonmarche, 95 West Main Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or emailed to bvasher@abonmarche.com.

These efforts also include recently approved funds to remove lead from homes in the city. Families living in Benton Harbor can apply for this service by filling out and mailing in an application. Residents also can call 866.691.5323 for more information.

For questions about lead, MDHHS can be reached at 866.691.5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.