‘Sudden death’: Flint water treatment plant foreman was found dead days before three of his colleagues were charged over the city’s contaminated water crisis

Water Treatment Plant foreman, Matthew McFarland was found dead in his home on April 16 by a friend who went to visit him

Autopsy was conducted but did not determine immediate cause of death …authorities are waiting on toxicology report before releasing more details
McFarland’s death comes after three men were charged in water crisis
Michael Glasgow, Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby charged Wednesday
Trio are accused of falsifying testing data downplaying Flint water crisis
Prysby an Busch are charged with misleading a federal health inspector
Pair also implicated in lying about city using corrosion control on its pipes

The death of a Water Treatment Plant foreman, who was found dead at his home on April 16 by a friend who went to visit him, comes amid charges against three men involved in the city’s water crisis.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced the sudden death of foreman, Matthew McFarland on Thursday. A friend discovered the 43-year-old’s body when he went to visit him at his Otter Lake home last Saturday, according to MLive.
His death comes as Flint’s water plant deals with the attorney general’s announcement of three men facing criminal charges in connection with the city’s water crisis.
The Lapeer County Sheriff’s Department told MLive that there were no apparent signs of foul play and an autopsy conducted did not determine a cause of death.
Police are still waiting for toxicology reports.
Lapeer County deputies also contacted state and federal officials because McFarland had been questioned by investigators looking into Flint’s Water Emergency.
Weaver told MLive said her ‘thoughts and prayers go out to Matt’s co-workers, his family and especially his children’.
McFarland had worked for the City of Flint for more than 18 years, according to Weaver.
She added that his family expressed that they would ‘appreciate donations to establish a fund’ for his children Vance and Ella’s college expenses.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office confirmed that McFarland was previously interviewed as part of its ongoing investigation into the city’s water crisis.
McFarland’s death remains an open investigation.

336bc1c200000578-3553074-image-a-35_1461293376735McFarland’s death comes as Flint’s water plant deals with the attorney general’s announcement of three men facing criminal charges in connection with the city’s water crisis. McFarland (center in blue) had worked for the City of Flint for more than 18 years

33597cd800000578-3553074-michigan_s_attorney_general_bill_schuette_pictured_will_announce-a-38_1461294757293
The office of Michigan’s attorney general Bill Schuette (pictured) confirmed that McFarland was previously interviewed as part of its ongoing investigation into the city’s water crisis. Schuette announced Wednesday the names of three men who would face charges in the Flint water crisis

335ec01c00000578-3550131-image-a-19_1461169001576Flint employee Michael Glasgow (pictured) has been charged over the city’s water crisis along with Michigan employees Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby

Schuette announced charges against Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality staff Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby, on Wednesday as part of a probe into the city’s water issues.
Glasgow, Busch and Prysby are all accused of tampering with test results to show the city’s water supply had less lead in it than there actually was.
Prysby, employed as an engineer with the state’s Office of Drinking Water, is also accused of telling Glasgow in an email that phosphate wouldn’t be needed when the city switched supplies to the Flint river back in 2014.
Phosphates are used to make water less corrosive, which could have prevented damaged to the city’s lead pipes which caused the toxic metal to leech into the supply.
Prysby and Busch are also accused of telling Environmental Protection Agency regulator Miguel Del Toral that the city was using proper corrosion control when they knew it was not.
During a Legionella outbreak that killed 12 people, which may have been linked to the water crisis, Prysby and Busch allegedly impeded government health inspectors.

335ea2a600000578-3550131-image-a-18_1461168999970Glasgow, Prysby and Busch were all charged Wednesday by Judge Tracy Collier-Nix (pictured) with fudging test results to show the city has less lead in its water than was actually the case

Officials are accused of sending samples for testing from homes at low risk of lead poisoning, while insisting they were actually coming from at-risk properties.
Glasgow has previously insisted that data on which homes were most at risk did not exist or was incomplete, and in the past pointed to emails he sent insisting that water inspectors were not prepared to make the switch from the Detroit water supply to the Flint river.
The charges, the first to be leveled over the water crisis in Flint, were authorized Wednesday by Genesee District Court Judge Tracy Collier-Nix.
They were made as part of a government investigation that is expected to broaden, with more charges possible. Busch is on paid leave after being suspended earlier while Prysby recently took another job in the agency.
For nearly 18 months after Flint’s water source was switched while the city was under state financial management, residents drank and bathed with improperly treated water that coursed through aging pipes and fixtures, releasing toxic lead.
For nearly 18 months after Flint’s water source was switched while the city was under state financial management, residents drank and bathed with improperly treated water that coursed through aging pipes and fixtures, releasing toxic lead

336bc1f200000578-3553074-image-a-37_1461293648485
For nearly 18 months after Flint’s water source was switched while the city was under state financial management, residents drank and bathed with improperly treated water that coursed through aging pipes and fixtures, releasing toxic lead
336bc21700000578-3553074-image-a-36_1461293630910Republican Gov Rick Snyder announced in October that the city would return from the Flint River to its earlier source of treated water, the Detroit municipal system but dangerously high levels of the toxic metal had been detected in the blood of some residents, including children (file image)
331b62b200000578-3550131-image-a-20_1461169104104
The charges are the first to be made over Flint’s water crisis and are part of a government probe which is due to expand with more charges possible (file image)

Republican Gov Rick Snyder announced in October that the city would return from the Flint River to its earlier source of treated water, the Detroit municipal system. But by that time, dangerously high levels of the toxic metal had been detected in the blood of some residents, including children, for whom it can cause lower IQs and behavioral problems.
The city has been under a state of emergency for more than four months, and people there are using filters and bottled water.
In January, Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette opened an investigation and appointed a special counsel to lead the probe because his office also is defending Snyder and others in lawsuits filed over the water crisis.
The state investigation team has more than 20 outside attorneys and investigators and a budget of $1.5 million.

Contaminated Flint River linked to Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

In addition to the lead contamination, outside experts also have suggested a link between the Flint River and a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. There were at least 91 cases, including 12 deaths, across Genesee County, which contains Flint, during a 17-month period. That represents a five-fold increase over what the county averaged before.
The failure to deploy lead corrosion controls after the city’s switch to the Flint River is considered a catastrophic mistake. The DEQ has acknowledged misreading federal regulations and wrongly telling the city that the chemicals were not needed. State officials were slow to respond to experts’ and residents’ concerns.
After the crisis broke open, DEQ Director Dan Wyant and the department’s communications director Brad Wurfel resigned.
Snyder announced the firing of Liane Shekter Smith, the former chief of the DEQ’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance. Susan Hedman, the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chicago-based Midwest office, also resigned.

 

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