Second lawsuit filed over Benton Harbor water crisis

Michigan

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — A second lawsuit has been filed over Benton Harbor’s water crisis.

The lawsuit, filed by Benton Harbor residents in federal court Saturday, seeks class status. It was filed against state and local officials, including the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad.

The accusations in the suit include willful neglect of duty, gross negligence and wrongful death. It describes health issues — including learning disabilities, chronic headaches and and high blood pressure — some residents are dealing with that they believe stemmed from the lead levels in the water.

City leaders declared a local state of emergency on Oct. 19 in response to the high levels of lead contamination in the water. Data from the city shows the highest lead reading from sampled homes found 889 parts per billion, more than 59 times the state limit.

The state has been providing free bottled water for the city’s residents for weeks, and is aiming to replace every lead water pipe in 18 months.

The first lawsuit was filed in court earlier this month.

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