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EAS446lec1 - EAS 44600 Groundwater Hydrology Lecture 1...

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1-1 EAS 44600 Groundwater Hydrology Lecture 1: Introduction Dr. Pengfei Zhang Introduction The Woburn Site Figure 1-1. Aerial photo showing the locations of Well G, Well H, Beatrice Foods, and W. R. Grace (Courtesy of Scott Bair). Aberjona River
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1-2 The city of Woburn, MA developed two water supply wells (G & H, Figure 1-1) in the 1960’s. These wells provided ~27% of the community’s water supply. The unpleasant taste and odor of the water was noted by citizens using this water. The high incidence of childhood leukemia in the Pine Street area of Woburn in the 1970’s prompted the local citizens to suspect a linkage with the low quality water from wells G & H. The water from these wells was found to contain significant amounts of chlorinated organic compounds , which could only have resulted from careless disposal of degreasing agents by one of the nearby industrial plants. In 1982 local citizens whose children had developed leukemia filed a lawsuit against two nearby industries with known or suspected contamination problems (W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods). Beatrice Foods was located across the Aberjona River from wells G & H (Figure 1-1). The goal of the plaintiff’s lawyer was to prove that chlorinated solvents had percolated into the aquifer and were drawn by pumping action into wells G & H. The plaintiff hired an expert witness, George Pinder of Princeton University, to determine whether the contaminants could have traveled from Beatrice Foods to Wells G & H before the late 1960’s, the period after which the leukemias began to appear. On the witness stand Pinder described features such as saturated and unsaturated zones , capillary fringes
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