As concerned residents of Fresno, California seek answers from local officials regarding the safety of their water supply, the Fresno Bee reached out to Raymond P. Boucher of Boucher LLP for comment. Boucher, who is among the attorneys involved in leading the prosecution of cases against SoCalGas arising from the Aliso Canyon gas leak, spoke about his firm’s collaboration with law firms Owen, Patterson & Owen and Wiliams Cuker Berezofsky to represent residents whose water has tested positive for high levels of lead.

The first step, he said, is to ensure that the rights of residents to file claims and take legal action are preserved. “There’s no point to do any saber-rattling at this point,” he said. Instead, the initial priority for attorneys will be to collect information so they can advise clients about their rights and how best to ensure that the water problems are fixed, prevent a repeat of the issues, and find out why it happened.

“We want to protect as much as we can everybody’s rights,” Boucher said. “That’s what the claim process is all about. You cannot bring a lawsuit under some circumstances unless there has been a claim. … So the first thing is to maintain the status quo and preserve their rights.

“Obviously there is a significant amount of investigation and analysis that has to take place,” Boucher added. “The people of northeast Fresno unfortunately feel very much in the dark (and are) leery and uncertain about the information that is coming out, how valid and accurate and complete it is.”

The Fresno Bee reported that, of the water samples taken by the City from 376 homes experiencing discolored water, initial testing indicated the presence of lead in 64 homes as of last week. “Lead is a toxic heavy metal, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates corrective action when concentrations are at or above 15 parts per billion.”

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