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More Lead-Tainted Water in Michigan Draws Attention to Aging Pipes

Mitch Smith, New York Times on October 16, 2021

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - During the three years that officials have known about dangerous amounts of lead flowing from faucets in Benton Harbor, they have sent out notices, distributed filters and tried to improve water treatment. But the problems persisted, and some residents said they never heard about the risks of the toxic water coming from their taps.

Now, in scenes reminiscent of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan officials have told Benton Harbor residents not to drink, cook or brush their teeth with tap water. Elected officials came to town Thursday promising help. And so many cars have turned out for bottled water giveaways that traffic has been snarled, a rarity in a place with 9,100 residents.

Officials said a vehicle got stuck in a sinkhole that was created by the break, but it was quickly towed out. No injuries were reported.

“It’s horrible to watch, to see my city like this,” Rosetta Valentine, 63, said as she directed traffic at a water distribution site where some people lined up nearly an hour before the event started.

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