At the heart of the lawsuit was the interpretation of the various representations of daily-limit, and daily average measured monthly, and annual average. The town ran the RIBs at 850,000 to 940,000 gallons per day in the five days leading up to the failure. The town says there was no daily limit, and that they complied with the monthly limit.
The way the town presented the issue, there is no daily limit at all. Mathematically, as described by them, there was only a monthly limit of 18 million gallons. That’s what 600,000 gpd monthly average works out to. Using that interpretation, it was acceptable to put 18 million gallons in one day, or 2 million gallons per day for nine days, or 1 million gallons per day for 18 days, or 850,000 gallons per day for 21 days (what the town was doing).
The hydrogeological model produced by Wright Pierce indicated the site had a capacity of 600,000 gallons per day, and would probably fail at 800,000 gallons per day.
So if you believe in this monthly average theory, you would still blame Wright Pierce if the town had pumped 2 million gallons per day for that week in April 2009. Think that might be pushing it? OK, so the real question is who decides? Who decides what’s reasonable and safe if there is only a monthly limit of 18 million gallons and the site was rated for 600,000 gallons per day? At the trial, Wolfeboro argued successfully that the jury could not be asked to decide, that Wright Pierce needed to produce an expert with a smoking gun.
We know who takes the fall, but the fundamental question remains. A wise old man that I once knew always said “The blame has no home”.