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Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Alder Nasra Wehelie are proposing a resolution Tuesday to begin the process of treating Well 15 on Madison’s east side to remove PFAS contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that do not readily break down in nature, and have been linked to negative health effects. They were discovered in Well 15 on Madison’s east side during voluntary testing in 2017, and the well was later closed down.

The proposed resolution would authorize sole-source contracting to help the Madison Water Utility obtain a treatment design in time to apply for federal infrastructure funds this year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed in 2021, is expected to provide $12.8 million annually for five years for Wisconsin communities to address emerging drinking water contaminants like PFAS. If built, this is likely to be the first municipal PFAS treatment facility in the state.

“Ensuring safe drinking water for all members of our community is one of the City’s most important responsibilities, and we have committed to keeping Well 15 offline until we have a PFAS treatment or filtration system,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “The Madison Water Utility remains committed to testing, monitoring and openly communicating throughout this process. I commend federal and state government bodies for recognizing the importance of addressing PFAS pollution. We are prepared to do everything we can to seize this funding opportunity to build Wisconsin’s first municipal PFAS treatment facility.”

Alder Wehelie of District 7 serves on the Madison Water Utility Board and cosponsored the resolution. “As a member of the Water Utility Board, I recognize the level of concern around PFAS contamination in drinking water, and I support the Utility’s efforts to bring PFAS treatment to Well 15,” said Alder Wehelie. “It is also important to be transparent, and establish an inclusive engagement process with the community throughout the project.”

The resolution will be introduced without discussion on April 19. It will be reviewed by the City Finance Committee (4/25) and the Water Utility Board (4/26) and is anticipated to return to the Common Council for a final vote on May 10. The Water Utility plans to hold a community meeting after the anticipated approval of the resolution.


  • Katie Crawley, 608-266-4611