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Benton Harbor residents have urged lead-testing homes as lead replacements wear off

State officials are encouraging Benton Harbor residents to test their homes for lead while the utility line replacement in the southwest Michigan city is complete.

The state is coordinating free home plumbing inspections and mitigation services as part of an all-hands-on-deck response for city residents who have been struggling for years with a lead crisis caused by elevated levels of the neurotoxin in the city’s water system.

As of Wednesday, the city had replaced 99.3% of its estimated 4,490 lead water supply lines, according to an online Benton Harbor dashboard maintained by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. According to the dashboard, about 32 lead lines still need to be replaced. The last line was replaced on November 7th.

Five Star Energy Services' Tim Mayer directs the horizontal directional navigator to lay new copper water lines to service homes in Benton Harbor.  State officials are urging city residents to have their water tested for lead after replacing more than 99% of the lead supply lines in the southwest Michigan community.

Home inspections can detect lead in paint, dust, soil, and plumbing, according to a news release from the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services; and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Inspections can also discover lead in items such as toys, crockery, and furniture.

Lead abatement services could address lead in paint, dust, soil and drinking water. Regardless of the water test results, crews will replace bathroom and kitchen fixtures that were installed before 2014.

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