City of

District 17

Alder Samba Baldeh

Image of Alder Samba Baldeh

Alder Samba Baldeh

Contact Information

Home Address:

5150 Crescent Oaks Dr
Madison , WI 53704

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Baldeh’s Blog

District 17 Updates on PFAS, F35s, MMSD, IMAGINATION CENTER & TFOGS

August 26, 2019 11:30 PM

PFAS and Well 15 – Discussions with Residents and Water Utility Quality Manager
On Thursday August 22nd I met with neighbors from mainly the Sandburg neighborhood area to discuss PFAS in our waters particularly well 15. I also invited Water Utility staff to the meeting to help address particularly technical issues. Below are the take aways from our discussions.

Madison Water Utility will not bring Well 15 on East Washington Ave. online for the foreseeable future. All Madison tap water, including water provided by Well 15, meets all state and federal drinking water standards for health and safety.  In July, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommended a groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for two PFAS compounds called PFOA and PFOS. At Well 15, PFOA and PFOS measure at a combined 12 ppt, well below that recommended level. 

However, out of an abundance of caution and uncertainties related to the presence of other PFAS compounds beyond PFOA and PFOS, Well 15 will remain out of service until DHS recommends groundwater standards for an additional 34 types of PFAS, which are currently being investigated.  These recommendations are expected in the fall 2020.

PFAS are a widely used class of chemical compounds found in firefighting foams, nonstick cookware, water-resistant clothing, food packaging, carpet and upholstery. The compounds are extremely difficult to break down are now showing up in dust, air, groundwater, and lakes, rivers and streams. You can find more information about PFAS on the Public Health Madison Dane County website.

While Well 15 is an important water supply source on the east side, continued conservation in Madison has made it possible to meet demand and fire protection storage in the area with the well offline. If the city experiences a prolonged dry spell or a mechanical failure at one or more other wells on the east side, Madison Water Utility will call for voluntary or mandatory water restrictions in that part of the city.  Well 15 will only be brought online if -- even with water restrictions – Madison Water Utility (MWU) is unable to fill Madison's reservoirs.  Bringing any well, including Well 15, back into service takes a minimum of about one week from the time a decision is made until the water can flow into the distribution system.

Madison Water Utility is currently exploring treatment options for PFAS removal at Well 15.  However, treatment at Well 15 is just one solution to ensure long-term water supply needs are met on the east side.  Adding an additional supply point may be more cost-effective than treatment.  Rather than narrowly focusing on water quality at Well 15, the utility will evaluate other alternatives that may provide greater benefits at a lower cost to our consumers.

PFAS treatment at Well 15 is not included in the Water Utility's 2020 Capital Budget request.  However, $82,000 to perform an alternatives analysis study for the well is projected for 2021. Madison Water Utility does not currently intend to supply water from Well 15 without treatment for PFAS unless there is an extreme water supply emergency in the area.

Wells 7, 11, and 29, are supplying most of the water to locations that previously received water from Well 15. (Wells 13 and 8 are also used to a lesser extent.)  Water from all of these wells meets all requirements for health and safety established under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been detected in a number of Madison wells, including Well 11. The table below shows levels detected at Well 11 compared with federal VOC regulations.

VOC type

Level detected

(parts per billion)

Federal Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)

(parts per billion)

0.6 ppb

5 ppb

0.3 ppb

5 ppb

In 2014, Madison Water Utility completed a $2.3 million air stripper addition to the Well 15 facility to remove Volatile Organic Compounds from the water. The air stripper could be moved to another well facility if it is no longer needed at Well 15.  However, Well 11 would not be a priority for treatment based on the low VOC levels observed there.

Similarly, hexavalent chromium is found at Well 11 at levels lower than what large-scale water treatment systems can effectively remove.  No treatment for hexavalent chromium is planned for any well in Madison. 

Advocacy can take the form of petitioning state and federal legislators to provide more funding to investigate and remediate PFAS contamination at military bases and specifically in Wisconsin.  Truax is not a high priority nationally nor in the State of Wisconsin despite the probable impact at Well 15.  

The City's Water Quality Technical Advisory Committee is a group of researchers, toxicologists and other water professionals who work with MWU staff to review water quality test results, keep staff abreast of emerging water quality issues, and provide insights into the development or revision of water utility policies.  This committee has no decision-making authority.  However, the committee can make recommendations to the Water Utility Board – the governing body that makes policy decisions and provides oversight to the utility.  

The F-35A and the Environmental Impact Statement
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed for any project that has potential environmental factors for consideration. The document analyzes the proposed installation of F-35A aircraft at the 115th Fighter Wing (115FW) and its projected impact on the environment surrounding Dane County Regional Airport and Greater Madison. Its purpose is to find the maximum potential impact in 13 categories. The EIS document represents the culmination of a transparent review that included rigorous and comprehensive data collection and analysis, in addition to consultation with community stakeholders.

There will be an Open House at the Alliant Energy Center hosted by the National Guard Bureau on September 12th at 5p (the presentation begins at 6:30p).  I encourage you to attend the meeting and share your thoughts & concerns; also let me know your comments to help me represent your views. For details, the executive summary and online comments of the Environmental Impact Statement are located here.  

Construction at Reindahl Park – Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District MMSD Northeast Interceptor
Many of you who live in the Reindhal park neighborhood must have seen heavy equipment and construction around the Lien road and Reindhal park area. A number of constituents have also contacted me about the project. Some have express concerns about the route and the trees that are being cut. The most ideal situation is to avoid cutting down any mature trees. This synopsis provides some background on the project, process, and impact.

The sanitary sewer being installed by Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) will extend 1.5 miles, from the intersection of Lien Road and Thierer Road to the intersection of Highway 51 and Rieder Road.  The project is needed to accommodate future flows and increase the resiliency of the sewer system. The existing sewer is nearing capacity and a robotic inspection of the 50-year-old pipe revealed corrosion of the interior concrete surface. To meet anticipated growth and allow future rehabilitation of the existing pipe, a second 42-inch diameter pipe (called a relief sewer) working in parallel with the existing pipe is being installed.

During the planning process, four different routes were presented at a public involvement meeting. The project team evaluated numerous considerations for each alternative, including depth of sewer, constructability, maintenance access, road crossings, traffic impacts, utility conflicts, and impacts to residents, businesses, and the environment. Results of the alternatives evaluation and input from the public indicated a preferred route located as follows: in the middle of Lien Road (from Thierer to Parkside), through the western portion of Reindahl Park (west of the cricket and soccer fields), through the Dane County Airport field, and to the end-point north of Rieder Road. This alternative was also anticipated to be the least expensive, thus minimizing financial impacts to ratepayers.

Route Selection
routeOnce the preferred alternative was identified, MMSD worked closely with City of Madison staff, personnel from the Dane County Regional Airport, and numerous other stakeholders to make any final adjustments required and obtain the necessary approvals and permits. This resulted in a refined route very similar to the alternative chosen during the planning process. The project was publicly bid in late March of 2019 with a construction cost of $7,034,000.

It is certainly unfortunate to lose trees from our system; the project at Reindahl, though requiring tree removal, provides an opportunity to promote a more diverse and sustainable landscape that can be enjoyed by all in a highly valued community park.  Though the disturbance through the park is significant, staff are focusing on the opportunity to replant diverse tree species throughout the park, plant native forbs and grasses to promote habitat for pollinators and wildlife along the sewer easement.       

Construction started in July of 2019 and is expected to continue until the summer of 2020. Lien, Bartillon, and Rieder Roads will be closed during pipe installation. East Washington Avenue will remain open at all times as the new relief sewer is being tunneled under the roadway.

City of Madison Task Force on Government Structure - TFOGS

Open House
August 28, 2019 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. - 2300 South Park Street, Rooms A, B, and C

What is Task Force on Government Structure
Do you know when the City is making key decisions that will impact your neighborhood? Or who is making those decisions? Do you have the time, resources, or know-how to voice your opinion to City Government?
The Task Force on Government Structure is asking these questions and others to find out if changes to city government structure could help make the City work more effectively for all of its residents, and, particularly, for residents of color and low income.

Join Conversation!
Everyone is invited to join the Task Force at an Open House on August 28, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Atrium, 2300 South Park Street. Help shape Madison's government at the Open House, where together we will explore ways Madison can improve resident engagement and city decision making.

Join us for all or part of the open house. Onsite childcare, dinner from El Pastor and McGees Chicken, and drinks will be provided. Additionally, Union Cab shuttle vans will be running to and from the locations listed below:

Leopold School, 2602 Post Road (4:45; 5:15; 6:00; 6:45)
Badger Rock Middle School, 501 E Badger Road (4:45; 5:15; 6:00; 6:45)
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, 1818 W Beltline Hwy (4:30; 5:15; 6:00; 6:45)

Leopold School, 2602 Post Road (6:30; 7:15; 8:00)
Badger Rock Middle School, 501 E Badger Road (6:30; 7:15; 8:00)
Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, 1818 W Beltline Hwy (6:30; 7:15; 8:00)
Learn more about the Task Force at
Join us for another Open House at Warner Park Community Center, 1511 Northport Drive on September 24, 2019 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Imagination Center (Public Library) Project
Madison Public Library is currently planning for the Imagination Center at Reindahl Park. Initial planning for the project began at the end of 2018 and is ongoing. Over the course of the last year, Madison Public Library shared 104 conversations with 396 people. More than 129 hours of conversations have taken place.

While the mayor's budget is not out yet my hope is that she keeps the Imagination Center project on schedule and include design dollars. This project is about equity and access to basic services that are way over due to residents in this part of the city.

Building from the conversations that produced Communities Inspiring Libraries: A Strategic Plan for Eastside Growth, the planning process for the Imagination Center at Reindahl Park relies heavily on conversation. We want you to share your thoughts and ideas for your neighborhood and library. To help facilitate dialogue, Madison Public Library has scheduled the following:

  • Park visits in Reindahl Park - starting summer of 2019.
  • Interviews with residents, service providers, businesses, and stakeholders.
  • Events at local schools, faith communities, community centers, and assisted living facilities.
  • Community conversations at neighborhood restaurants & organizations.
  • Planning exercises in middle and high school classrooms.
  • Conversations with Local Voices Network (LVN). Madison Public Library is collaborating with LVN to host guided conversations.

Look for library staff in your neighborhood or reach out to be part of the process. Translation services, schedule accommodations, and other support is available.

Imagination Center Timeline:

  1. September 2018 - December 2018 - Introductions and Community Engagement Launch - Completed
  2. January 2019 - December 2019 - Community Engagement and Conversations

Quarterly Planning Update #1 – January 2019 – Completed
Quarterly Planning Update #2 – April 2019 – Completed
Quarterly Planning Update #3 – July 2019 – Completed
Quarterly Planning Update #4 – October 2019 - Upcoming

  • January 2020 - March 2020 - Develop Draft Imagine Reindahl Plan
  • March 2020 - June 2020 - Public Review of Imagine Reindahl Plan and Completion
  • January 2020 - December 2020 - Establish Partnerships and Begin Design
  • January 2021 - December 2021 - Continue Design, Prepare, and Bid Project
  • April 2022 - Begin Imagination Center Construction

Please contact Kevin, the Library Planner, to contribute to the planning efforts or seek more information.
Phone number: 608-267-8666
Email address:


Meeting Schedules this week:
The City Weekly Meeting Schedule:
The County Weekly Meeting Schedule:

For questions, concerns or discussion items, please contact me at or via phone at 608-501-1421

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