The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urged Benton Harbor residents not to use tap water due to lead contamination.
The advisory comes after pressure from advocates who filed an emergency petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal response to the water issue.
According to the petition, for the past three years, Benton Harbor residents have been “subjected to levels of lead contamination from their public water system that presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to their health.”
A total of 51 percent of the city’s service lines “are known to contain lead, are known to be galvanized lines previously connected to lead, or are of unknown material but likely to contain lead.”
The state provided over 23,000 cases of bottled water to residents as of Monday and is offering other resources such as blood testing and services to find and remove hazards from residents’ homes.