The Woburn Water Supply

Up until the 1960s Woburn's water was supplied from six wells in the vicinity of Horn Pond (wells A-F on the map below on the left). As the population grew, more water was needed; Well G was put into operation in 1964, and Well H was added in 1967. Wells G and H were located in east Woburn in the vicinity of the Aberjona River, shown in greater detail in the aerial photograph on the right. Long ago the Aberjona River had been a large river that ran through a valley that had been formed by glaciers. Slowly, over many years, the valley gradually filled with sand, gravel, and silt; the Aberjona River was slowly reduced to a meandering stream, but the ancient valley below, which was now filled with gravel and porous dirt, had become an underground water reservoir. At the surface there were now marshlands, swamps, and wetlands. Unfortunately, much of the industrial activity was located in this area as well, including the W.R. Grace Cryovac Division, Unifirst (a uniform dry cleaning company), and the Riley Tannery, which was purchased by Beatrice Foods in 1978. The "Fifteen Acres" shown on the aerial photographe was a parcel of land purchased by the Riley tannery in 1951; during the 1950 s and 1960s this plot of land was used used to dump waste from the tannery, including chemicals such as tricholoethylene (TCE) .

A more detailed account of Woburn's water supply system, including its evolution over time can be found here.