Flint mother says state officials were indifferent to troubling water tests

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/10/2018) - Lee-Anne Walters says four Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials turned a blind eye to a lot of what was happening in the city of Flint after the water source switch in April 2014.

She described one of her first interactions with District 8 Water Engineer Mike Prysby at a meeting in January 2015, where she showed him samples of the discolored water coming out of her tap.

Walters said none of the defendants at the meeting took her water sample or offered any tips for what she could do to improve the situation.

Prysby is one of four people in court this week for a preliminary hearing to decide whether they should stand trial on charges related to the water crisis.

Prysby and Steven Busch, the District 8 water supervisor, are each facing four felony and two misdemeanor charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

Patrick Cook, a specialist in the Department of Environmental Quality's community drinking water unit, is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor charge.

Liane Shekter-Smith, the former chief of drinking water and municipal assistance, is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor charge, including involuntary manslaughter.

All four defendants are accused of failing to do their jobs in providing safe drinking water for Flint residents and businesses.

Special Prosecutor Todd Flood showed a video during testimony on Wednesday of Walter's meeting, where Prysby explained the Department of Environmental Quality's role following the water quality violation found in the system.

Walters testified on Wednesday that even after the lead level in her home tested at 104 parts per billion and eventually 707 parts per billion, no one from the Department of Environmental Quality reached out to help her family.

The city of Flint has offered to replace her service lines for free. In April, she actually had to connect to her neighbor's water with a garden hose to get safer drinking water.

Walters said she never heard from state officials until she attended a meeting with them in Lansing in August. She arrived having done her research on the Lead and Copper Rule.

During her testimony, defense attorneys for the four defendants came down hard on Walters. They questioned what documentaries she's helped with and what lawsuits she's been a part of.

Walters is expected to continue her testimony sometime in the coming weeks. On Thursday, the prosecution will put an expert witness on the stand.

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