City takes well with elevated levels of PFAS out of service

MADISON, Wis. - A well on Madison’s east side will be temporarily shut down as the city waits for guidance on the levels of contaminants found during testing, according to a release from the Madison Water Utility.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is expected to recommend a PFAS groundwater standard to the Department of Natural Resources sometime this spring, Madison Alder Samba Baldeh said.

The Utility released test results last week relating to Madison Well 15's PFAS levels, which refers to a group of hundreds of thousands of chemicals found in things such as firefighting foam and Teflon. 

Madison Water Utility officials expect Well 15 will meet DHS’ recommended standard and plans to bring the well back online this summer, according to the release.

According to Public Health Madison Dane County, the levels of PFAS detected at Well 15 are not considered a potential threat to health, and its water is safe to drink.

MWU’s decision to shut down the well comes after staff discussions with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

“Temporarily using other wells may give families who live in the Well 15 service area some peace of mind as state health officials examine the issue,” officials said in the release. 

According to the release, PFAS chemicals are unregulated in Wisconsin, but PFAS levels at Well 15 are far below the EPA’s advisory level.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that the Madison Water Utility does not expect Well 15 will meet DHS’ recommended standard, which is not accurate. They do expect to meet the standard. 

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