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Governor proposes $200 million for clean water programs - with special attention to Benton Harbor

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a big investment in the state's Clean Water program, using $200 million of the state's share of federal American Rescue Plan funds -- with special attention for Benton Harbor.  

The federal action level for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion. Benton Harbor's level over the past three years has ranged from 22 to 32 parts of lead per billion.  

Ongoing efforts to replace lead service lines haven't improved the situation.  Lead levels in the city's drinking water are still extremely high. 

The Governor's proposal would use $20 million of American Rescue Plan and other funds to replace every lead service line in the city within five years. 

Her proposal also would help replace lead service lines in other cities across the state, as well as bolster PFAS cleanup efforts. 

State lawmakers would have to approve the plan. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.