How to Reduce Your Exposure to PFAS, Part Four: Private Well Water


PFAS chemicals are common in our environment, and they can affect our health. Almost everyone has been exposed to PFAS in our air, water, and soil, and from using products that have PFAS.

Graphic with sky and trees that explains PFAS

We’ve explained how to reduce your exposure to PFAS in locally caught fish, products we use every day, and in drinking water. In this final part of our four part series, we’ll explain how to test your private well water and what to do if results are concerning.

How PFAS get into private well water

Because PFAS are so common in our environment, they can be found in the soil. This is especially true in areas near PFAS contamination, like near Truax Field and Dane County Regional Airport. PFAS move easily through soil and may get into groundwater that is used as the water supply for some private drinking water wells.

Private wells should be tested

If you get your drinking water from a private well, you know how important it is to test the well regularly for contaminants. If you live near an area with PFAS contamination, you should also test your well for PFAS. To order a test kit for $418, email our lab.

Free private well testing is available for those who qualify

We offer free private well testing for PFAS for income-eligible households in Dane County, living outside the City of Madison (households in City of Madison are not eligible). Free testing is available while funding lasts, or through June 2024. See our webpage for details about income eligibility guidelines and how to apply.

We can help you understand results and what to do next

No matter where you get your private well tested for PFAS, we’re here to help you understand what the results mean and what to do if they’re concerning. You can also use this tool from the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant to compare your test results to State standards.

Filter your water if PFAS test results are concerning

If your PFAS well test results are concerning, there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure. Use a granular activated carbon or reverse osmosis filter, or get your water from a treatment system that uses one. Look for systems certified by ANSI/NSF Standards 53 or 58. This website has a list. Use them to filter your water used for:

  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Making baby formula or food
  • Washing fruits/veggies
  • Brushing teeth
  • Feeding pets

Reduce or limit your exposure to PFAS when you can

Not all PFAS chemicals stay in the body for the same amount of time or have the same toxicity. More research is needed to know what levels of PFAS cause health effects. It can be hard to avoid exposure to low levels of PFAS. Focus on reducing or limiting your exposure when you can, prioritizing drinking water and food. Your body does get rid of PFAS after a period of time. Limiting your exposure can reduce the levels of PFAS in your body.

When new information is learned, we’ll provide updates, so subscribe to our blog and follow us on social media so you don’t miss them!

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

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