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Damage to railroad tracks, Mazomanie

Railroad washed out near Mazomanie.

Free well water testing kits for those with private wells are now available in flood-ravaged communities in western Dane County as well as in Madison, with officials advising affected residents not to drink the well water unless it’s boiled.

Public Health Madison and Dane County, in cooperation with the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, is offering the free kits at seven locations:

  • State Bank of Cross Plains, 1205 Main St. in Cross Plains, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Middleton Town Hall, 7555 Old Sauk Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon Friday.
  • Black Earth Village Office, 1210 Mills St., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Mazomanie Village Hall, 133 Crescent St., 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
  • Montrose Town Hall, 1341 Diane Ave. in Belleville, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
  • Public Health Laboratory, City-County Building in Downtown Madison, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Public Health Environmental Health Office, 2300 S. Park St., Madison, 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The well water testing kits will be available until Sept. 6.

“We recommend well owners impacted by flooding to immediately stop drinking their well water or using it for cooking unless it has been boiled for one minute,” said PHMDC spokeswoman Sarah Mattes.

“The well, and the entire plumbing system, should be disinfected,” Mattes said. “This procedure is best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer, but it can also be done by well owners.”

Well owners should suspect contamination if the well casing is inundated with flood water; if there are taste, color or sediment changes in the water; or if the well is shallow-cased and flooding has occurred near the well.

Doug Voegeli, environmental health director for PHMDC, said the test kits are being given in the hardest-hit areas to make it easy for residents to get their water tested.

“Doing this testing is crucial for making sure your water is safe, since drinking water contaminated with bacteria can cause illness,” Voegeli said.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.