City of Madison begins year-long study of east side well

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Madison Water Utility found trace amounts of PFAS (or per- and poly-fluoroalkyls) in Well 15 on Madison's east side prompting a precautionary year long study of more than 30 chemicals potentially in the water there.

"The chemicals that are impacting Well 15 are likely due a fire fighting foam that's used at the airport and the military base," Joe Grande, the Water Quality Manager for Madison Water Utility said.

He said levels of these PFAS chemicals that they aren't harmful to humans, according to EPA regulations, but the city plans to monitor those levels, month by month, to ensure they're not on the rise.

"What we want to determine if there is an increase and what that increase might be," Grande said.

Every month Grande and his team will take a sample from the well and send it to two labs on the west coast to be tested for 30 different chemicals. They'll monitor those levels over the next year and determine if they need to take action to reduce the chemicals in the water.

"There's impurity in all water and the important thing is to try to make sure those impurities are at low enough levels where they're not causing harm to humans," Grande said.

Madison Water Utility is holding a public meeting for people with concerns about PFAS to address the city. The meeting is at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Madison Water Utility building at 119 E. Olin Ave.

For more information about the meeting click here.

To find out if your water comes from Well 15 click here.

NBC15 reached out to the Wisconsin National Guard for a comment on Madison Water Utility's claims that the chemicals came from Truax Field Air National Guard Base. Here their statement, given by Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Joe Trovato:

"The safety of our communities, our installations and the populations that live and work on or near our facilities is one of our top priorities. We continue to cooperate with the Wisconsin DNR, local communities and National Guard Bureau to manage the risks of mission-related contamination containing PFOS and PFOA, and we are committed to being good stewards of the environment that we share with the local community. In conjunction with the Air Force, we are using a comprehensive identify, respond and prevent approach to assess the potential for PFOS/PFOA contamination and will respond appropriately as deemed necessary.

National Guard Bureau contractors visited the 115th Fighter Wing in November 2017 to conduct testing for PFOS and PFOA. They are in the process of compiling a report of their findings, which the National Guard Bureau and the Air Force will use to guide any future actions that may be required. At this time, no PFOS/PFOA exceeding the EPA's established Lifetime Health Advisory has been discovered in any drinking water source as a result of National Guard facilities in the state.

The Wisconsin National Guard is in full compliance with all federally mandated standards and environmental regulations related to PFOS and PFOA, and we look forward to continuing to work with the state, local communities and the Department of Defense to ensure we remain good stewards of our environment."