State and local officials kept a deadly secret – the water in Flint, Michigan was killing them.

Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Nick Lyon, knew the water had caused an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease leading to dozens of deaths – but he didn’t notify the citizens for a year.

His response was, “well everyone is going to die of something.”

Five more government officials in Michigan are facing criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter, for not telling people the water could kill them.

If convicted, all could face 15 years in prison.

While no charges currently are planned against Gov. Rick Snyder, the investigation continues, and the Attorney General who has attempted to interview the governor has not had an opportunity.

The AP reports:

Five people, including the head of Michigan’s health department, were charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in an investigation of Flint’s lead-contaminated water, all blamed in the death of an 85-year-old man who had Legionnaires’ disease.

Nick Lyon is the highest-ranking member of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to be snagged in a criminal investigation of how the city’s water system became poisoned after officials tapped the Flint River in 2014.

Lyon, 48, the director of the Health and Human Services Department, is accused of failing to alert the majority-black population about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area, which has been linked by some experts to poor water quality in 2014-15.

An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in prison.

“The health crisis in Flint has created a trust crisis for Michigan government, exposing a serious lack of confidence in leaders who accept responsibility and solve problems,” said state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who said his probe is moving to the trial phase and signaled that Snyder, who has apologized for his administration’s failures that led to and prolonged the crisis, may not be charged.

“We only file criminal charges when evidence of probable cause of a crime has been established. And we’re not filing charges at this time,” he said.

Lyon also is charged with misconduct in office for allegedly obstructing university researchers who are studying if the surge in cases was linked to the Flint River.

When Flint had a serious budget crisis, it switched water supplies from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

But when they made the switch, state officials did not put in the chemicals needed to keep the city pipes from breaking up, putting heavy metals into the water supply.

It also led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which killed many in Flint.

The Washington Post reports:

Lyon was aware of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak by early 2015 but “did not notify the public until a year later,” according to charging documents filed in court and reviewed by the Detroit Free Press.

According to the documents, he “willfully disregarded the deadly nature of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak,” later saying “[we] can’t save everyone,” and “everyone has to die of something.”

The attorney general’s office alleges that Lyon was personally briefed on the situation in Genesee County, where figures showed the number of Legionnaires’ cases was more than three times the annual average.

Lyon allegedly also refused an early offer of help from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hindered scientists from researching whether the spike in Legionnaires’ cases was linked to the city’s switch to water from the Flint River.

Those failures, investigators claim, led to the 2015 death of Robert Skidmore, an 85-year-old man who was treated at McLaren Flint hospital.