Mar 11, 2019

Madison, Wis., Closes Water Well Amid PFAS Contamination Concerns

The water utility has closed Well 15 due to emerging contaminant concerns

Madison, Wis., closes well over water contamination concerns

In Madison, Wis., the Madison Water Utility (MWU) announced that it is shutting down a drinking water well on the North Side of the city that has been contaminated with per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) from Truax Field Air National Guard Base. Residents previously served by Well 15 will temporarily rely on other well facilities, according to a press release.

The utility announced the decision as it awaits a recommended PFAS standard in groundwater from the Wisconsin Department of  Health Services (DHS) this spring. However, it does expect Well 15 to meet the forthcoming standards and plans to bring the well back online in the summer.

Two nearby reservoirs will be monitored to make sure they can meet the increased demand. Well 8 in Olbrich Park, which is used as a last resort because the water contains high levels of iron and manganese, may be brought on standby this spring, reported The Badger Herald.

According to the press release, MWU believes the levels of PFAS detected in the well are not a threat to public health and the water is safe to drinking. The well tests below the U.S. EPA’s lifetime health advisory levels, however, the state does not regulate the emerging contaminants.

The decision to close the well comes after MWU staff and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin met to discuss more aggressive steps in response to citizen complaints.