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Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that are widespread in the environment. PFAS are used in non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, food packaging, upholstery, carpeting, and firefighting foams. High concentrations of PFAS can affect health. PFAS have detected in some Madison municipal water wells at low or trace concentrations.
Public meeting: PFAS Testing at Well 9 on Spaanem Ave.
January 30th, 6:30 p.m., Sennett Middle School - Dowden Auditorium
We’ve gotten a lot of concerned calls from customers who live in the Well 9 area related to a recent story in the Isthmus. In 2019, Madison Water Utility tested Well 9 for 30 different PFAS compounds. The 51.55 part per trillion PFAS concentration that was reported in the story is a total of the 9 types of PFAS that were found present in Well 9. About 80% of that total comes from one compound called PFBA. Currently there is no Federal or Wisconsin guideline for PFBA in drinking water. The only guideline we do have comes from Minnesota’s Department of Health, which has a recommended standard for PFBA of 7,000 parts per trillion. The amount of PFBA in Well 9 is 42 parts per trillion. We will continue to monitor Well 9 along with the other wells in Madison. If anyone has questions or concerns about PFAS detections in Well 9 or any other Madison well, please attend the meeting if possible. An environmental epidemiologist from Public Health Madison Dane County will be on hand, as will Madison Water Utility's Water Quality Manager, who oversees all drinking water testing for the city. If you cannot attend but have questions, please call MWU's Water Quality Department at (608) 266-4654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Results of Madison Water Utility's testing for PFAS compounds at all 23 municipal water wells.
Although water at Well 15 on East Washington Ave. has not exceeded any state or federal drinking water standard, Madison Water Utility will not operate the well for the foreseeable future. Learn more about PFAS at Well 15 and where the chemicals may be coming from.
Madison Water Utility has gotten a number of questions about PFAS in drinking water. See our FAQs for some answers.
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Learn the latest from Public Health Madison Dane County about PFAS contamination, water testing results, and remediation plans.
A timeline showing how Madison Water Utility discovered PFAS in Madison.