A Michigan judge has authorized criminal charges against one city official and two state officials
Credit: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Michigan judge has authorized criminal charges against one city official and two state officials in connection with the lead contamination of Flint’s water.

The office of Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday they were pressing charges on two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and a local water treatment plant supervisor in conjunction with the crisis.

Michael Prysby, a DEQ district engineer, and Stephen Busch, a supervisor with the DEQ’s Office of Drinking Water, were both charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and violations of water treatment and monitoring laws. Flint utilities administrator Michael Glasgow was charged with tampering with evidence for changing lead water-testing results and willful neglect of duty as a public servant.

Busch is currently on paid leave after being suspended; Prysby recently switched positions within the agency.

The news comes as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has pledged to drink filtered Flint tap water for a month, in an effort to prove that the city’s tainted water is safe when filtered.

Snyder visited a Flint family’s home on Monday, and made a statement to Detroit Free Press.

“To help support this effort – people are asking about me drinking the water – I filled up a bunch of gallon jugs, so I’m going to drink filtered Flint water from this wonderful home I visited. I’m going to start drinking that tonight and do it for the next 30 days when I’m at work and at home.”

Snyder’s vow follows news that efforts to fix Flint’s water supply are being hampered mainly by the fact that Flint residents no longer trust the water supply. NPR reported earlier this month that Virginia Tech researchers have found “the water additives that would ‘re-scale’ corroded pipes in [Flint’s] water system, thereby preventing lead from leaching into the water, are not reaching the pipes because people in Flint don’t want to pay for contaminated water that they can’t use.”

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards put it in blunter terms in a press conference: “The delivery of the cure, which is this clean water that needs to flow through the system, in some Flint homes, is simply not happening.”

The Free Press reports that last week, after Snyder pressed for Flint residents to use more tap water, a state official told him that “Flint residents wanted him to start drinking the tap water first.”

“I completely understand why some Flint residents are hesitant to drink the water, and I am hopeful I can alleviate some of the skepticism and mistrust by putting words to action,” Snyder said, according to the newspaper. “Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request. And I will continue drinking Flint water at work and at home for at least 30 days.”