Confusion over the Aberjona River
May 14, 15, and 16, 1986. No doubt, the jury was confused too.
The river and its wetland are within several tens of feet of well H and a hundred feet or so of well G. Armed with the same site-specific stream gaging data and water-level data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1985 and early 1986, one expert claimed that no water from the river reached either municipal well when the wells were pumping, one expert claimed that the river was a groundwater divide preventing groundwater under the west side of the river valley from flowing under the river to wells G and H on the east side of the river valley, and the third expert witness testified that approximately 50 percent of the water pumped by wells G and H was derived from the river. Hydrologically, the difference in these three interpretations were substantial. In terms of the trial, understanding the role of the Aberjona River was critical to delineating flowpaths and computing traveltimes of contaminants from the defendants' properties to wells G and H, which were the focal points of Phase I of the trial that the jury would have to decide.