Water Filter Study Conducted in Benton Harbor, Michigan

March 8, 2022

EPA scientists tested unfiltered and filtered water at about 200 locations in Benton Harbor during November and December 2021

 The U.S. EPA released the results from a water filter study conducted in Benton Harbor, Michigan. 

The results show that proper use of filters is effective at reducing lead in drinking water, reported EPA.

This conclusion was drawn after analyzing water samples from about 200 homes.

EPA scientists tested unfiltered and filtered water at about 200 locations in Benton Harbor during November and December 2021. Proper installation, maintenance, and use show effectiveness at reducing lead in drinking water. Additionally, recent inspections show that priority operational problems have been fixed.

According to the Agency, residents need better information to install and operate filters properly, however. To improve this and therefore improve water supplies, EPA will support the state of Michigan and local governments to disseminate information about how to use filters.

EPA is working with Michigan’s state agencies, Berrien County, Benton Harbor, and the drinking water system on long-term solutions. EPA and Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will monitor the system to help prevent new problems.

Although the filters show improvement in the water quality, Michigan still recommends that Benton Harbor residents continue to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, and mixing powdered infant formula. The state will continue to provide free bottled water to Benton Harbor residents until all lead service lines are replaced, which are expected to be completed in the next 16 months.

“No family should ever have to worry about the quality of water coming from their tap and the Benton Harbor community is no exception,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore in the EPA news release. “The information collected in Benton Harbor expands our existing knowledge that filters are effective at removing lead, affirming our confidence in their use nationwide. However, using a water filter addresses the symptom and not the cause of the problem, which is why EPA is committed to President Biden’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes, the primary source of lead in drinking water across the country.”

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