Contaminants found in city wells; Officials work to remediate

Contaminants found in city wells; Officials work to remediate
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City officials are monitoring two Madison municipal wells that have low levels of contaminants and are working on remediation efforts, officials said.

City officials are working with the Department of Natural Resources, Dane County and the Wisconsin Air National Guard to mitigate the contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, according to a release from the city.

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been produced since the 1950s and have been used for a variety of industrial applications, including coatings for textiles and firefighting foams, officials said.

PFAS-containing foams have been used for firefighter training and fire emergencies in the Madison area near Truax Field and at the Dane County Regional Airport since the late 1970s or early 1980s, according to the release.

Testing conducted last year by the City of Madison Water Utility indicated that two municipal wells had small amounts of PFAS contamination, officials said. The low levels are not considered a potential threat to human health, but the city has been working on remediation of the training sites.

The city has also included funding in the 2019 budget to supplement a DNR study of fish in surface water in the area, according to the release. There are currently fish consumption advisories, unrelated to this PFAS contamination, in effect for fish caught in the area, but if there is further contamination, those advisories could be upgraded.

MWU is continuing to test the two wells, Well 15 near East Towne Mall and Well 16 near Memorial High School, to determine if levels are increasing, officials said.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has asked the Wisconsin Air National Guard for additional groundwater, surface water and sediment testing and an immediate environmental restoration at Truax Field, according to the release.

City officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

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