Nearly seven years after water provided to the residents of the majority Black city of Flint, Michigan, several officials, including former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, reportedly will face criminal charges.
Snyder, his health director, and other ex-officials were informed of the legal development by the state’s Attorney General’s office on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
The news service cited two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution, who said defense lawyers were notified about the indictments and were told to expect initial court appearances soon.
The first crisis came to light on April 25, 2014, when officials sought to cut costs by switching Flint’s drinking water supply from the Detroit city system to the Flint River.
The water proved highly corrosive, and because city and state officials allegedly broke federal law by failing to treat the water properly, lead filtered from pipes into thousands of homes.
When Flint residents complained that their water was brown and contained a foul odor, government officials turned a blind-eye.
More residents complained of losing their hair while others developed rashes on their skin.
Celebrities like Russell Simmons, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and Cher delivered gallons of bottled water to desperate residents.
Simultaneously, the now late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, offered hotel stays, meals, and water to those adversely affected.
An outside examination of the water discovered large samples contained lead levels well above the action level for lead established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Some samples revealed lead levels of more than 100 times the action level.
The catastrophe led to more than 9,000 children getting sick and some residents contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
Some officials later admitted that they either knew about the contamination or acted too late.
In addition to Snyder, former health department director Nick Lyon, and other unidentified ex-officials are facing prosecution.