Madison Water Utility finds PFAS in 4 more wells, bringing total to 14

A map from the Madison Water Utility showing PFAS contamination in water wells.
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Madison’s water utility has discovered the toxic chemical PFAS in the city’s four seasonal wells, bringing the total number of contaminated wells to 14.

The Madison Water Utility has been testing water in the city’s 23 water wells in search for PFAS, a chemical not only used in cookware and food packaging but also firefighting foam.

The city began testing water across the area after it discovered that firefighting foam, used by the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Truax Field, had leaked into nearby groundwater and creeks.

The city says, however, that the amounts of PFAS found are low, posing no health risk to residents.

“The levels are so small. We can demonstrate that there are detectable amounts, but in many cases we can’t quantify those amounts with a lot of certainty,” according to water utility manager Joe Grande in a release Thursday.

High levels of PFAS exposure have been linked to health issues, including increased risk of some types of cancer.

After beginning tests last summer, the city water utility found PFAS in four seasonal wells, according to a release:

• Well 23 on Leo Dr. is rarely used and was last pumped into the water system in the summer of 2017. The well has a mixture of different types of PFAS compounds at low levels. PFOA and PFOS were measured at a combined level of 6.6 ppt.

• Well 8 in Olbrich Park and Well 17 on S. Hancock St. each have a mixture of PFAS compounds detected at trace levels; most levels are too low to measure accurately.

• Well 27 on N. Randall Ave. has a mixture of PFAS compounds, all of which are at trace levels too low to measure accurately.

More testing result details can be found on Madison Water Utility’s PFAS Testing and Information page.