Well 12 Reconstruction (and Whitney Way water main upgrades)

About the Project

Well 12

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Whitney Way water main upgrades are complete!

Water mains beneath the southbound lanes of Whitney Way from Schroeder Rd. to Odana Rd. have been upgraded ahead of the Well 12 Reconstruction Project. Thank you for your patience.

Well 12 Reconstruction


The Well 12 Reconstruction project has been delayed, and construction will not be moving forward in 2018. We are planning to revisit this project at a later date.


Location:  801 South Whitney Way
Purpose:  Replace aging well facility; upgrade pumps and piping to allow for 2-zone capability
Budget:  $2.8 million
Start date:  tbd
Completion date: tbd

Drilled in 1957, Well 12 currently pumps water throughout Pressure Zone 7 -- an area stretching north of the Beltline from Glenway St. to Whitney Way and south of the Beltline from Seminole Hwy. to Gammon Road. Madison Water Utility will upgrade Well 12 to a two-zone facility, allowing it to supply water if needed to Zone 8 on the far West Side. The upgrade will also allow water from Zone 8 to travel to Zone 7 if needed, providing better fire protection and more reliable supply for people living across much of the West Side.

Latest News:

Project plans and specifications are available for bidding by interested contractors. Bidding will close in April, and we expect to recommend award of the contract for construction in May.

Well 12 rendering

Project Background

Well 12 pumps more than 500 million gallons of water a year. In 2006, Madison Water Utility developed a Master Plan which recommended that this facility be converted to a two-zone well, allowing greater operational flexibility and reliability for the West Side supply system between Pressure Zones 7 and 8. There is a 30 foot difference in the hydraulic gradient between the two zones making it a logical choice for additional pumping flexibility.

The major components of the project will now include:

  • Demolition of the existing building, followed by construction of a completely new facility.
  • Installation of variable frequency drives on new booster pumps to allow them to pump to either Zone 7 or Zone 8.
  • Associated piping and motor operated valving to allow the station operation to be remotely controlled.
  • Metering for the deep well, Zone 7 and Zone 8 output.
  • Addition of a pressure-reducing valve to allow water to flow from Zone 8 to Zone 7 if necessary.
  • Construction of a new chemical feed room to bring the facility up to current code and DNR standards.
  • Upgrade of the restroom facility.
  • Replacement of the well discharge piping
  • Miscellaneous Station upgrades related to security, lighting, electrical controls, etc.

Work on this facility will also coincide with a separate Public Works contract for the necessary water main improvements, which will connect a new pipeline from the Well 12 facility directly to Pressure Zone 8.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this project needed?

Well 12 is nearing 60 years of service and is in need of the stated upgrades in order to continue supplying water to the area as reliably as possible. Upgrading the pipes/pumps to allow for redundancy and two-zone capability increases our ability to deliver water where and when it is needed. Rebuilding the facility itself will give us an opportunity to create a modern building that will meet all current building codes and serve the area for decades to come.

What are the contingency plans to provide water while the pumps at Well 12 are offline during reconstruction?  
We operate a resilient system providing flexibility during times of maintenance or system upgrades. Similarly safe, high-quality water will be provided from other system wells and pump stations during reconstruction, and customers in the area should not notice any significant difference.

Will traffic be affected during construction activities?

Construction of the new facility will primarily be contained on the well site, however there will be some added traffic due to materials being hauled to and from the site, as well as construction vehicles entering and exiting the driveway.  Once a more specific construction schedule is established, we will provide notice if there are any activities that would have a more notable effect to traffic in the area.

The related project to upgrade water pipelines beneath Whitney Way will likely impact traffic and involve lane closures. Work is currently scheduled to take place during the spring/summer of 2017.
Once this project is complete, will there be a lot of additional traffic to and from the facility?

There will not be any significant increase in traffic due to the completion of this project.  Routine staff visits for water quality sampling will continue as normal.  Maintenance and chemical delivery schedules will also be generally unchanged.

Will the drinking water be carrying more disinfectant if it has to be piped from greater distances while Well 12 is offline?
We do not anticipate a need to change the chlorine disinfectant level during reconstruction. Current target levels are adequate to ensure proper disinfection in the system even with Well 12 out of service.
Are there any risks to the quality of water drawn from Well 12 due to factors such as road salt or spills/accidents on the adjacent portion of the Beltline Highway?
Well 12 provides water of excellent quality and our plans to make improvements at the site reflect a commitment to maintaining this quality. Interestingly, Well 12 has not shown impacts of road salt that have been seen at some other wells. Our wellhead protection ordinance provides a zoning overlay that restricts certain activities near the well which could otherwise potentially affect the water. We believe that impacts arising from Beltline traffic and/or accidents represent manageable risks.

How is the Whitney Way water pipeline project related to this?

While it is a separate contract and project, the pipelines that are going to be installed beneath Whitney Way will connect the two pressure zones to Well 12 (currently Well 12 is only connected to one pressure zone). This pipeline project will be completed in 2017, ahead of the facility project, so that Well 12 can immediately serve both pressure zones when the facility project complete. Click here for more information on the Whitney Way Water Main Upgrades

Will my water rates go up as a result of this project?

We develop a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) annually to update existing facilities, construct additional facilities, and renew infrastructure. Water rates pay for the CIP and all Madison Water Utility customers will contribute equally to this project. Rates are routinely reviewed through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to establish equitable levels based on the utility’s financial needs. Water rates can be expected to change as necessary over time to cover the cost of the overall CIP.

Past Meetings & Additional Information

November 8, 2017 - Urban Design Committee meeting.

  • The design for Well 12 was unanimously approved

July 26, 2016 - Public Hearing at Madison Water Utility Board Meeting

  • The Madison Water Utility Board approved design concepts for the project
  • The Board also asked for signage to be added to the property to identify the facility. 

Other information

Madison Water Utility has hired the engineering consultant services of SEH, Inc. to develop plans, specifications and contract documents to allow the project to be bid through the Madison Board of Public Works and efficiently complete this upgrade.

In 2015, Madison Water Utility received bids for upgrading the facility without a full reconstruction of the building. All of these bids were rejected due to high costs. The rejection of bids was approved by the Board of Public Works on 7/22/15 and the Madison Water Utility Board on 7/28/15. Overall, bids were 48% above the utility's $1.2 million estimate for the project. For more information, see the Report on Bid Results and Recommendation submitted to the Water Utility Board on 7/28.

In 2016, the project scope was altered to include a complete reconstruction of the facility, with construction scheduled to begin in 2018.