City leaders looking into Chromium-6 findings - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City leaders looking into Chromium-6 findings


By Julia Fello - email | Twitter 

MADISON (WKOW) -- After a surprising finding by an environmental group, Madison officials will start testing for the potential harmful Chromium-6 in city water.

Testing could begin in less than two weeks for Chriomium-6 in Madison drinking water.

In a public board meeting, the water utility manager said he is confident the results will show the contaminant is in our water.

The question is - how much?

This all is on the heels of a report by the Environmental Working Group.

They analyzed water in 35 cities across the country - 31 tested positive including Madison. The city had the fourth highest levels. But utility leaders insist, it's still safe to drink.

"I try to drink the water less frequently - I'm concerned about it," said Michael Kientz, Madison resident.

Michael Kientz says the news that high levels of Chromium-6 was found in his drinking water is not sitting well.

The carcinogen was made famous in the 2000 Julia Roberts movie "Erin Brockovich," but still isn't federally regulated.

"They say oh, we think the water is safe, but they're research is non-existent so how can they draw conclusions?" said Kientz.

"How reasonable is it to base it on that one sample?" said Kientz.

Utility leaders unanimously approved a decision to perform their own water tests, to find out just how high levels are.

"There are some things we can do to better understand what is the concentration of this contaminant, within our system, and try to put it on a national perspective," said Joseph Grande, Water Quality Manager, during the board meeting.

They also want to find out where it's coming from. But the water quality manager has an idea.

"When it combines with disinfectant and chemicals it could be converted into Chromium-6, that will all be explained," said Joseph Grande, Water Quality Manager.

Michael Kientz hopes it will be soon, to prove to dozens of residents who have called and sent e-mails to the water utility leaders, they are safe.

The general manager says it will take some time, and patience.

"I'm not worried. I drink several glasses a day. We meet all water regulations state and federal by good margin," said Tom Heikkinen, General Manager with the Madison Water Utility.

The water quality manager says testing for Chromium-6 is something they've never done before.

They're still figuring out which wells they will test, and also which lab they will take the samples, to be tested. I'm told it will most likely be with the State Lab of Hygiene.

There's no word how much this research will cost the Madison Water Utility.

The results should come back by mid-January.

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