George Pinder: The Tragedy of Woburn from the Eyes of an Expert Witness
Perhaps the most notorious groundwater contamination trial in the United States, and the case that gave rise to the book A Civil Action and a movie of the same name, will form the context for this presentation. On May 4, 1979 an incident occurred that caused the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering (DEQE) to test the production wells G and H for organic contaminant compounds. Results showed that several volatile organic chemicals were present in the water, the wells were subsequently shut down on May 21, 1979. Once the information regarding the contamination of production wells G and H became known, some residents began to suspect that exposure to the water from these wells might be responsible for the high childhood leukemia occurrence. The theme of this talk is my role as a expert witness in the ensuing litigation.
George Pinder is Professor of Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics at UVM. He holds a BSc from University of Western Ohio and a Ph.D. from University of Illinois. George is an internationally recognized pioneer in the creation and use of computer models for solution of groundwater contamination problems. He was a professor and chair of Civil Engineering at Princeton University and served as the CEMS Dean at UVM from 1989 to 1996; he has mentored 34 doctoral students, authored or co-authored more than 250 papers and written 12 books. Pinder was the founding editor of Advances in Water Resources and Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations and has received numerous prestigious recognitions including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2016. He is the only UVM faculty member to have been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.
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