The Flint water crisis has become a criminal case, with two state regulators and a city employee charged with official misconduct, evidence-tampering and other offenses over the lead contamination that alarmed the country and brought cries of racism.
For nearly 18 months, the poor, majority-black city of 100,000 used the Flint River for tap water as a way to save money — a decision made by a state-appointed emergency manager — while a new pipeline was under construction. But the water wasn’t treated to control corrosion. The result: Lead was released from aging pipes and fixtures as water flowed into homes and businesses.
Michael Prysby, a former district engineer with the state Department of Environmental Quality, and Stephen Busch, a supervisor in the department’s drinking water office, were charged with misconduct, conspiracy, tampering with test results and misdemeanor violations of clean-water law. The felonies carry maximum penalties of four to five years in prison.