Because of Less Summer Demand, Madison Standby Water Wells Won't All be Needed

Tue, 07/15/2008 - 6:28am

Madison-This summer's heavy rainfalls have had at least one positive effect: the usual high seasonal demand for water has been blunted, and that has allowed the Madison Water Utility to keep some of its standby wells out of service.

For example, Well 10, which is located on the near west side and is usually put into summer reserve status, may not be turned on at all except for one brief period in August when required water quality samples must be taken. Otherwise, its need as a backup can be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, depending on customer demand, which could rise if conditions change.

Well 29 on the far east side of Madison, which is also shut down during the winter, had been brought into standby service in late June to be available for fire fighting or other emergencies. Standby status requires the utility to periodically pump water into the well's reservoir to refresh it and ensure a proper chlorine level. For the next several weeks at least, water from that reservoir will not be released into the distribution system, but will be drained directly into the storm drains during the refreshment.

With the lower than usual summer water demand and fewer wells needing to be online, the Water Utility can save on electricity costs for running the wells and also eliminate the need to use the standby wells that are more prone to contain higher levels of minerals such as manganese or iron. Although the small amount of such minerals in these wells has never come close to being a health concern, it can cause unacceptable water discoloration.

  • Gail Gawenda, Public Information Officer, 608:266-9129