BENTON HARBOR — Lead levels appear to be dropping in the water of Benton Harbor homes with suspected lead service lines, Benton Harbor Water Superintendent Mike O’Malley told members of the city’s Public Safety and Recreation Committee Wednesday.

“The results are actually looking kind of favorable to the city residents because it appears as though the corrosion treatment system we installed back in March 26 and have been running every day since is having an impact sooner than they told us it would be,” he said. 

He said the system coats the pipes so the water doesn’t come into contact with the lead pipes. Experts told him it would probably take 18 to 24 months before it started working, but he’s seeing results sooner.

The results are from seven houses that have been tested so far. He said he needs to test 53 more before the end of the year to be in compliance with the state.

Anyone who would like to be part of the testing should call Antonia Wade, administrative assistant at the water department, at 447-1945 or email her at awade@cityofbentonharbormi.gov.

They can also call O’Malley at 363-0575 or email him at momalley@cityofbentonharbormi.gov.

He said the testing costs the homeowner nothing.

O’Malley said the water is lead-free from the water plant and the city’s water pipes. He said the lead is getting into the water from homes that have lead service lines between the water main into their homes or inside the homes.

He said there is no smell or taste to the corrosive treatment agent.

The city has been required by the state to take steps to reduce residents’ lead exposure since October 2018, when higher-than-acceptable levels of lead were found in the drinking water in some homes, causing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to issue an advisory about lead.

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege