About the Project

Well 15 building


Project Overview

This project focuses on removing PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, from Well 15. PFAS are a class of thousands of chemicals used in a variety of products, from food packaging and cookware to upholstery, clothing and firefighting foam. The chemicals do not break down naturally in the environment and are believed to have negative health impacts. PFAS were first discovered at Well 15 during routine water quality testing in 2017; the well was later shut down in 2019. Effectively, Madison Water Utility began in-depth testing for a broad spectrum of PFAS chemicals at all city wells in 2019. At that time, Madison Water Utility and the City of Madison made a commitment to the community that Well 15 would not be put back in service until an effective treatment was employed.

The purpose of this project is to develop preliminary designs for a PFAS treatment facility at Well 15. This is the first step to removing PFAS at the well and getting it back in service.  

Community Engagement 

Public Information Meeting 2 - September 8, 2022
A second public meeting was held at the East Madison Community Center on September 8th. Utility staff presented preliminary concepts on PFAS treatment solutions being considered for municipal drinking water Well #15. The presentation provided an overview of the five treatment options considered along with an explanation of the pros, cons, and cost benefit analysis associated with each approach. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session

Public Information Meeting 1 - June 30, 2022
The first public information meeting and listening session was held at the East Madison Community Center on June 30th. The meeting began with a presentation by the utility's General Manager and Water Quality Manager/Project Manager, followed by a question and answer session.

Key Milestones

  • 2017 - Madison Water Utility first discovered PFAS at Well 15 while conducting limited testing.
  • 2018 - Madison Water Utility conducted a modeling and grownwater study to evaluate the time of travel for PFAS contamination from the Truax Air Field to Well 15 and update the Well 15 capture zones to determine if Truax could be the source of PFAS at Well 15.The study confirmed that Truax is inside Well 15’s groundwater capture zone. Read more about the modeling and groundwater study here.
  • 2019 - Well 15 was shut down amid community concerns about PFAS chemicals found there, as well as additional findings.
  • 2019 - Well 15 water quality test results for PFAS (most recent). See results here
  • 2021 - Madison Water Utility conducted a feasibility study for PFAS removal to determine whether a treatment system at Well 15 is the best, most cost-effective option for meeting water supply needs on Madison’s east side. A granular activated carbon system was the recommended treatment technology. Read more about the PFAS removal feasibility study here.
  • 2022 - Madison Water Utility engaged a design consultant to develop preliminary designs for a PFAS treatment facility at Well 15.