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Your Environment. Your Health.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Superfund Research Program

Characterizing Ground Water Contamination of a Heterogeneous Field Site: The Aberjona River Watershed

Project Leader: Charles F. Harvey
Grant Number: P42ES004675
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

Project Summary (1995-2000)

This project uses mathematical models to investigate the physical and chemical factors which control the transport of toxic metals in the Aberjona river watershed. Emphasis is on causal links between metals sources in the northern part of the watershed and the possible contamination of drinking water pumped from Wells G and H, located near the center of the watershed. Models are used to predict metals concentrations in water pumped from Wells G and H during the 1970's and early 1980's. These predictions help MIT toxicologists evaluate connections between metals contamination and a well-documented childhood leukemia cluster. The specific aims of this project are to develop small-scale models of groundwater flow and associated metals transport at the Industriplex and Wells G and H sites, to develop a stream flow and transport model which describes the movement of dissolved and suspended metals from Industriplex to Wells G and H via the Aberjona river, and to use models to test transport hypotheses suggested by field observations and to estimate historic metals concentrations in drinking water pumped at Wells G and H. Although the focus is on the Aberjona watershed, the ultimate goal is to understand the processes that control metals transport in any area where environmental contamination can affect human health.

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