Madison Water Utility Establishes Water Treatment and Quality Policies for Iron and Manganese

September 3, 2009

The Madison Water Utility Board has formally adopted a policy that the utility will take corrective measures whenever necessary to keep groundwater minerals from discoloring water from city wells.

The new policy sets a secondary (esthetic) standard tied to the amounts of iron and manganese found in drinking water samples. The utility already meets required health standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new esthetic standards address additional concerns such as discolored water that can lead to laundry staining and general dissatisfaction.

According to Water Utility General Manager Tom Heikkinen, "This policy establishes for the first time a level of service for water quality based on more than just health considerations. We will employ a variety of strategies to achieve these quality standards, including system flushing, filtration, and source management." The utility recently installed a filter on an Eastside well at a cost of $1.8 million.

The standard for iron in drinking water will be less than 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L), and the manganese standard will be less than 0.05 mg/L.

"The EPA has encouraged water utilities to adopt these standards to manage their systems for esthetic considerations," said Heikkinen. "They also have urged the general public to support rate increases to upgrade treatment facilities to meet these objectives."

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