LeeAnne Walters helped expose the water crisis in the Flint — now she’s being recognized for her environmental activism.
In 2014, while a new water pipeline was being built, the city turned to the Flint River as a water source. Shortly after that, residents started to notice that their water looked, smelled, and tasted strange. Walters, a mother of 4, then sprang into action after Flint residents started noticing these issues more and more. She says her kids started to get rashes and her hair fell out, so she informed the city of the water problem.
After being ignored for months, she took matters into her own hands and sampled water in each zip code in Flint. She also got her kids tested and found one of her twins had lead poisoning. Walters then worked with doctors and researchers to prove Flint’s water was contaminated and causing health problems.
She’s now the recipient of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for leading the citizen’s movement to test the tap water. She also testified at a congressional hearing about the water to urge the national government to step in. While there is still plenty of political drama over the city’s water supply, people like Walters helped to bring the crisis to everyone’s attention.