Two state officials and a local official have been brought up on charges in the face of the water crisis in Flint, Mich., according to CNN. Water treatment plant employee Mike Glasgow and Michigan Department of Enviromental Quality workers, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, could all face prison time if they are convicted of the charges they face.
The accusations are that these men mislead officials and tampered with findings in order to make the tests seem more favorable and the water safer to consume.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has condemned the convictions and maintains that there was no criminal wrongdoing. Due process, he says, will show if anyone did in fact act criminally.
Flint, Mich. has been in the national news as it faces a water crisis. For two years, residents had complained about the quality of the water that was pulled from the Flint River, but with little success. It was not until earlier this year, according to ABC News, that a state of emergency in Flint was declared and federal officials became involved.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, Flint and Michigan officials conducted tests and insisted that their water was safe, citing their findings and ignoring or condemning tests and evidence to the contrary. ABC News reported that investigations have produced evidence implicating both Flint and Michigan officials as responsible for the failure of the safety of the residents of Flint and the failure to accurately gauge the contamination of the water supply.
The BBC reports that the switch to use the Flint River as the city’s water supply was intended to cut costs. However the human cost has become extreme. Officials assured Flint residents that the water was safe for human consumption, even while a local General Motors plant stopped using the water to clean their parts because it was too corrosive.
The corrosiveness of the water is in and of itself an issue, but adding to that is the fact that the corrosive water ate away at the water pipes, adding lead contaminants to the water. The BBC reports that this lead contamination can lead to defects in children, as well as physiological issues.
It is suspected that the contaminated water is also to blame for the outbreak of Legionaries disease and other serious health issues plaguing the Flint area.
The officials blamed, including the mayor and the governor, stand by their decisions, and have vowed to drink Flint water for 30 days to add further testament to their findings.
In another development coming out of Flint, a woman who was among the first to file a lawsuit in regards to the water crisis was shot and killed, according to MLive. She was one of two people who died in the shooting. The police have not found the killer and no charges have been filed. They also do not know if the killing was in connection to the Flint water crisis.
Editor’s Note: Information from ABC News, BBC News, MLive and CNN was used in this report.