A Civil Action - The Woburn Toxic Trial > Key Issues in the Trial > Woburn Industrial History > Impact of Industry on the Aberjona Watershed

Impact of Industry on the Aberjona Watershed

Overview

In the Late 1600s Woburn's first tanning industry began production. Soon after the construction of the Middlesex canal connecting Woburn and Boston, industrial development in Woburn surged. The earlier industries were primarily tanneries and piggeries, both of which produced large volumes of waste products that were disposed proximal to the industries. The industries were located along the banks of the Aberjona River in order to provide water for manufacturing processes. Additional information regarding Woburn's industrial history can be found on the key issues of the trial page Woburn Industrial History.

Maura Metheny and Scott Bair navigating the mighty Aberjona

For information regarding the current condition of the Aberjona River, click the link to the Mystic River watershed

Aberjona River Watershed and the Woburn Toxic Trial

The defendants', especially W.R. Grace & Co., placed considerable emphasis on historic water-quality impacts from tanneries and chemical industries that occurred throughout documented history. W.R. Grace had several experts available to testify about the occurrence of known carcinogens attributed to historical industries throughout the Aberjona River valley. Part of their strategy was to downplay the impacts resulting from the use of chlorinated solvents on the properties of Beatrice and W.R. Grace.

Aberjona River Watershed and a Mock Trial

A key issue in a mock trial will be the historic contamination in the industrial areas within the Aberjona River valley. Although the defense team can use this information as a strategy to deflect responsibility for the contaminants in Wells G & H, proving the connection between contaminants found on the Beatrice and W.R. Grace properties and the impacts to Wells G & H is one of the challenges that the plaintiffs must complete.

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