Aberjona River

Aberjona River

The Aberjona River is a short (6 miles long), heavily urbanized river in the northwestern suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.

The river arises in Reading, flows roughly south through Woburn and Winchester, and empties into the Mystic Lakes. It is generally small and heavily channelized, often running through underground culverts, but is quite apparent in Winchester center where it widens into Judkins Pond and the Mill Pond.

Aberjona River was first identified by Europeans shortly after 1631, when Captain Edward Johnson explored the area. The name "Aberjona" appears in the earliest colonial records, but its origins are unknown. By 1865 there were 21 tanneries and currying shops in Woburn, and by the 1870s pollution from tanneries in Woburn and Winchester was affecting both the river and the Upper Mystic Lake (then a public water supply). The Massachusetts Legislature banned the discharge of wastes into Horn Pond Brook (a tributary) in 1907 and into the Aberjona in 1911. A 1995 study by Spliethoff and Hemond analyzed sediments of the Upper Mystic Lake with industrial records, and determined that high concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and zinc were deposited by chemical and leather industries dating from the early 1900s.

From 1969 into the early 1980s, the Industri-plex site was developed along the river due to its proximity to the I-93 / I-95 junction. Industri-plex manufacturing plants contributed to the area's extensive contamination with chemicals used by the local paper, textile and leather industries, including lead-arsenic insecticides, acetic acid, benzene and toluene, and sulfuric acid. Industri-plex is now a "superfund" site, although substantially remediated.


* [http://nh.water.usgs.gov/projects/nawqa/sw_aberj.htm USGS Aberjona River project]
* [http://epa.gov/Region1/superfund/sites/industriplex/213095.pdf EPA Aberjona River project]
* [http://photos.orr.noaa.gov/gallery_1/cprd1-33.htm NOAA Aberjona River photographs]
* [http://www.mysticriver.org/research/Aberjona%20Shoreline%20Survey%20Final.pdf Mystic River Watershed Association]
* [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/esthag/1996/30/i01/abs/es950169q.html Henry M. Spliethoff and Harold F. Hemond, "History of Toxic Metal Discharge to Surface Waters of the Aberjona Watershed", American Chemical Society]

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