Water Filter Distribution for the City of Benton Harbor

Residents of the City of Benton Harbor can receive free water filters, filter cartridge refills and filter installation assistance from the Berrien County Health Department. 

Benton Harbor residents can receive a free certified filter and replacement cartridges by mail by calling 844.875.9211. They also can visit BCHD at 2149 E. Napier Ave. from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday or the Center for Better Health at 100 W. Main St. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Learn more: 04/11/2022 Press Release: Berrien County Health Department Continues Providing Free Water Filters, Filter Installation to Benton Harbor Residents

Distribution Events 

City residents are invited to pick up a filter, receive installation assistance and learn more about available resources at upcoming distribution events. Call 1.800.815.8485 for more information. 

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday May 25, 11a.m. - 2p.m., 200 River Terrace Drive, Benton Harbor 

Lead filter FAQs

1. Who needs a filter? 

It is recommended that those who receive their water from the city of Benton Harbor use a filter or bottled water for drinking, cooking, making baby formula, rinsing foods, brushing teeth and for pets. In 2018, the city of Benton Harbor’s drinking water exceeded the federal action level for lead due to contamination from lead service lines and indoor plumbing fixtures. Work is currently being done to update these sources.

2. Do filters work?

Yes, certified filters are proven to reduce lead in drinking water. A recent study of 200 Benton Harbor homes by the Environmental Protection Agency found that when properly installed and maintained, filters effectively reduce lead in drinking water.

3. How do filters work? 

Filters serve as a physical barrier that can block and trap particles like lead and other debris from passing through. Certified water filters are effective at removing both soluble and particulate lead. Soluble lead is lead that is dissolved in water. Particulate lead is small pieces of lead from lead-containing material.

4. What do I need to use filtered water for? 

Filtered water can be used for drinking, cooking, making baby formula, rinsing foods, brushing teeth and for pets.

5. Why weren’t filters being offered before? 

BCHD launched the free filter program in 2019 when concerns about the city’s water lead levels were first raised. The program has been active ever since.

6. How can I get a filter?

Certified water filters are available to residents of the city of Benton Harbor at no cost through the Berrien County Health Department.

Residents can receive filters by mail or in person pick up. Call 844.875.9211 to have your filter delivered by mail or pick up in person at the Berrien County Health Department at 2149 E. Napier Ave. from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday or the Center for Better Health at 100 W. Main St. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Both locations are in Benton Harbor, and neither requires appointments.

You can also purchase your own filter through an outside source. If you decide to purchase your own filter, be sure the packaging says the filter is certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and certified for NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction (Class I).

7. What kind of filter do I need?

There are two kinds of filters available, a PUR® Faucet Mount Filter or a PUR® Pitcher Filter. Faucet mount filters typically work best for faucets with heads that are fixed in place. Pitcher filters work best for faucets with detachable heads. Staff at BCHD and the Center for Better Health will work with you to help find the correct filter for your home.

8. How do I install a filter?

To install a faucet mount filter, walk through the steps outlined in the How to Use Your PUR Faucet Filter Certified to Reduce Lead in Drinking Water Fact Sheet. For video instructions visit: bit.ly/PURFaucetFilter.

For a pitcher filter, walk through the steps outlined in the How to Use Your PUR Pitcher Filter Certified to Reduce Lead in Drinking Water Fact Sheet.

City of Benton Harbor residents can receive free installation assistance. Call 844.875.9211 and a representative of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will come to your home within one business day. Residents will be asked when ordering their filter if they would like installation assistance. 

Proper installation and maintenance are essential for filters to be effective.

9. What kind of maintenance do filters need?

Each type of filter will have different maintenance needs. These will be included when you receive your filter, whether from BCHD or another source. Some common maintenance tasks include cartridge changing and aerator cleaning.

Each filter has a cartridge that serves as the physical barrier that blocks and traps particles. Filter cartridges should be changed every two months or when the filter indicator light turns red. Each time you turn on your faucet mount filter or pour from your pitcher filter, a light will flash on the filter gauge six times to let you know:

  • Green: Your filter cartridge is working
  • Yellow: Your filter cartridge is working, but you will need to change it soon
  • Red: The filter cartridge needs to be changed now

If you have a faucet mount filter, this video can help show you how to replace the cartridge.

Aerators (the mesh screens on your sink faucet) can trap pieces of particulate lead. Clean your drinking water faucet aerator at least once a week. Learn how to clean an aerator here

10. How can I get replacement cartridges? 

Replacement cartridges are available for free through BCHD for city residents who receive their water from the city of Benton Harbor. Residents can receive filters by mail or in person pick up. Call 844.875.9211 to have your filter delivered by mail or pick up in person at the Berrien County Health Department or the Center for Better Health. Cartridges can also be purchased from retailers.  

11. How often do cartridges need to be replaced?

Filter cartridges should be changed every two months or when the filter indicator light turns red.

12. How much do filters cost?

Filters are available to city of Benton Harbor residents at no cost through BCHD. Similar filters purchased from a retailer typically cost $25-35.

13. Can’t I just use bottled water? 

Bottled water can also be used and is available at no cost through MDHHS. Information about distribution locations and times can be found at Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe. Filters are available as a convenient, additional option for residents to ensure access to safe drinking water.