Jan 29, 2019

Citizen Group Petitions for Increased Well Water Testing for PFAS

The Madison, Wis., citizens group is concerned about PFAS well water contamination at the Truax Air National Guard Base

Citizen group calls for increased testing of well water for PFAS contamination
Citizen group calls for increased testing of well water for PFAS contamination

A citizen group petitioned the Madison, Wis., Water Utility Board to address potential well water contamination from the Truax Air National Guard Base. In response, the utility announced plans to test for at least twice as many per- and polyfluoralkyl (PFAS) substances than previously announced.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the testing will begin in February at Well 15 on East Washington Avenue, where several types of PFAS have been detected. While some residents would like the well in question to be closed until the test results are returned, others argue that that would force residents to use other municipal wells that have not been adequately tested for PFAS contamination.

The water quality testing was slated to begin this January but extreme cold weather prevented the tests. Samples drawn from Well 15 will be taken to two labs with one looking for 24 types of PFAS and the other looking for 30 types, based off of which kinds the military tests for on its bases.

“The plan is use two labs at least this one time, then see how the results compare. If they’re really highly variable between the two labs, we might want to do two tests again.” said Water Quality Manager Joe Grande.

Furthermore, the Midwest Environmental Justice Organization in Madison petitioned for testing of all city wells, particularly near two firefighting training areas near the Dane County Regional Airport, as training airport areas have commonly found PFAS contamination in surrounding well water. They also have called for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District to test sewer outfalls from the air base and treated sludge that is discharged onto farm fields.