Sasha Avonna Bell.
This is the name of the 19-year-old woman who was one of the first to file a lawsuit in connection with the Flint water crisis, where she claimed her child had been lead poisoned. On April 19th, she was found shot to death in her home along with another woman. Just three days earlier, Matthew McFarland, a foreman at Flint’s water treatment plant, was found dead in his home.
This is following months of unrest, distrust, and finger pointing as residents stuggle to do everyday things that are often taken for granted: cooking, bathing, and drinking. After the water supply for Flint switched from the Great Lakes to the Flint River (where officials failed to put corrosion inhibitors in place), the water had corroded the pipes to the point where lead rose to lethal levels. Flint has since reverted the city’s drinking water souce back to the Great Lakes, but the pipes are still damaged, and still leave lead levels high in some homes. Testing indicates that the only way to relieve this matter is to replace the pipes. However, record-keeping is so poor in Flint that officials are unsure of which houses are the most heavily affected.
Currently, Mike Glasgow (the city’s laboratory and water quality supervisor), Stephen Busch (former district supervisor for the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance), and Mike Prysby (a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official), are facing charges, and there are more to come. Although officials insisit that the water is safe to drink and bathe in, many residents chose not to use it in fear of contamination. Only time will tell how officials will remedy this problem.