City of Madison and East Isthmus Neighborhoods Work Together to Resolve Drinking Water Issues on the East Isthmus

February 5, 2007

Madison - Recent water quality issues surrounding Well 3 have brought together City officials and East Isthmus neighborhood leaders to work together to resolve water quality problems and improve communication. Madison Water Utility's Water Quality Manager Joseph Grande has been meeting with neighborhood leaders to plan a series of public meetings to address drinking water issues on the East Isthmus.

Dan Melton, Chair of the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara Neighborhood Association said, "Joseph Grande from the Madison Water Utility, has reached out to neighborhoods to understand our concerns and problem-solve within the last few months. I feel a lot more comfortable that the quality of our drinking water is in good hands."

The collaboration has resulted in planning a series of public meetings to address water quality issues on the East Isthmus. The first meeting will be held Monday, February 5, 2007 from 6-8 pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1021 Spaight Street.

"This is an important collaboration between the neighborhood and the Water Utility to address important water quality issues," said Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "Access to clean and safe drinking water is a basic right for every Madison family. Access to accurate information is equally important, and these meetings are a good step forward in improving communication with the public."

Neighborhood leaders, Grande, and other City leaders have agreed to collaborate to create meaningful opportunities for problem solving about drinking water concerns. The upcoming meeting on February 5th is the first in a series of meetings that are being organized throughout the first half of 2007.

Grande said, "There is a need to focus public discussion on the immediate concerns community members have raised about the health and the safety of our drinking water. It is clear to me that the public wants and needs to understand what the Water Utility is doing to protect and deliver safe drinking water. I am committed to having an open and honest dialogue about those concerns."

These thoughts were echoed by Dr. Thomas Schlenker, Director of Public Health for Madison and Dane County, "In one year, much of the confusion and concern about Madison's drinking water has been resolved. But, there are still questions left to answer. I see the Department of Public Health asking the questions, 'What do we know? What don't we know? And How do we find out what we need to know?', and then working with the Water Utility and the community to establish the facts and effectively communicate them."

The February 5th meeting will focus on water quality testing to ensure drinking water safety, the role of Public Health in water quality issues, and how Madison Water Utility communicates with its customers.

The subjects of future meetings will include the challenges with locating a new well on the Isthmus, the impact of development pressure on water supply, long-term sustainability of the aquifer, and water conservation. Updates on dates and topics for future meetings can be found at www.cityofmadison.com/water or by calling the Water Utility, 266-4654.

Contact:
  • Joseph Grande, Water Utility, (608) 266-4654
  • Dan Melton, Neighborhood Association, (608) 249-9632