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Wellhead Protection Program
The goal of a wellhead protection program is to identify, manage and protect the land areas that contribute groundwater to drinking water wells. When our drinking water is pumped into the water system from a groundwater well, the water within the aquifer is drawn towards the well. The size and shape of these aquifer areas supplying our wells depends on the unique characteristics of the aquifer as well as the pump. Using information from groundwater models and local hydrogeologic data, the boundaries of these groundwater recharge areas can be accurately identified.
Typically we identify the 5-, 50-, and 100-year capture zone boundaries contributing to a well’s supply. Identifying these zones allows preventative measures to be established that prohibit or restrict future land-uses that have the potential to contaminate groundwater. Also, investigations to identify existing or historic land uses and potential contamination sources are documented so groundwater monitoring or management needs can be established.
The City of Madison has enacted ordinances to define and protect the wellhead protection zones for all 22 active wells. For more information on Madison’s local ordinances related to wellhead protection, visit MGO Ch. 13 – Public Water Supply System (Section 22) or MGO Ch. 28 – Zoning Code (Section 107).
Madison Water Utility uses monitoring wells to obtain representative groundwater quality samples and hydrogeologic information. They are generally located between a known or suspected source of groundwater contamination and a water supply well so contaminant plumes are detected before they reach the water supply.
Wellhead Protection Plans
In accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources established a statewide wellhead protection program that requires a wellhead protection plan to be developed for any municipal well proposed after May, 1992 – which includes three of Madison’s 22 active wells. Madison Water Utility, however, is voluntarily completing wellhead protection plans for all active wells in our system.
* Seasonal well that typically operates during higher demand summer months.