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Susan E. Smith and Thomas P. Bernier Participate in American Water Works Association Webinar January 3, 2017

Susan E. Smith, Chair of the Toxic Tort Practice Group, and Thomas P. Bernier, partner in the same group, recently presented at an American Water Works Association webinar titled “Emerging Legal Issues: A Lead and Legionella Trend.”

The presentation focused on emerging litigation trends in water contamination and what a shift in focusing on municipal water supply testing can mean for utility companies. “It’s not a storm yet for utilities, but there is a perfect storm of factors coming together,” said Susan, noting that as water contamination claims increase, the chance of utility companies having to face litigation also increase. “People will be taking a closer look at what is in the water, at compliance, at discrepancies in records, and demanding transparency.”

Tom also pointed out that as municipalities adopt water testing regulation, utility providers will see their water being tested by end users. “There is a growing expectation that water distribution systems will have a water management program,” said Tom.  “And in the programs where water testing for Legionella is required, sophisticated water program managers will likely be testing incoming municipal water for the presence of Legionella to protect themselves in the event they get a positive finding for the bacteria.”

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