Water Testing

Water Testing

A total of 250 wells across the District are sampled each year for contaminants. While public water supplies are routinely monitored, water quality in private wells is left to the well owner or well water user; it is for this reason that the URNRD provides district-wide water quality programs.

Water Test Kits

The URNRD protects drinking water by providing drinking water test kits to individuals in the District for domestic and livestock water wells at no charge.  Water samples can be analyzed for multiple contaminants, ensuring the safety of your family's drinking water. Water test kits are available at the main URNRD office and should be returned to the office the same day, if possible, that water samples are taken. Water samples taken with the test kits should be returned to office by 1 p.m. Monday-Wednesday.

It is advised that residents take advantage of the free program and have their drinking water tested for contaminants, namely nitrates. Nitrates can cause infant cyanosis or blue baby disease in infants less than six months old who have been given water that is high in nitrates. Pregnant women, those expecting to be pregnant, and nursing women should also avoid water that contains nitrates at levels of 10ppm or more.  

Nitrate Sampling

The district's water quality sampling program began in 1974, and more sampling sites were added in 1980.  These sites are sampled on an annual basis.  

Water Testing Program

The District’s water quality sampling program began in 1974. Currently, the sampling program involves two separate sampling events.  In the winter, the same 77 domestic and stock wells are sampled each year, and based on the results of those samples, additional sampling occurs in the summer.  In 2015, 213 domestic and stock wells were sampled.  In addition, 63 irrigation wells are sampled in the summer for nitrate and the results submitted to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for inclusion in their water quality database.  

The water quality sampling program is being modified beginning in the summer of 2017.  The winter sampling will focus more on human health.  There are currently 378 registered domestic wells in the District, and the District will sample approximately 76 wells each year on a 5-year cycle, so all registered domestic wells will be sampled every 5 years.  Additional wells will be sampled upon request.  In the summer, the sampling program will focus on the general “aquifer health” within the District.  One hundred thirty-four irrigation wells will be sampled to estimate the average nitrate concentration throughout the district.    


What are nitrates and why do they need to be monitored? Nitrates are the nitrogen portion of the nitrate ion. When present in drinking water, it can present a health risk - regularly testing water can help manage that risk.

What causes high levels of nitrate in water? Most often, nitrate presence in a water source is the result of pollution from fertilizer or human or animal waste. 

What do I do if my water has high nitrate levels? If your water exceeds the acceptable nitrate standard, safety options are to use an alternate water supply or treat the water. Treatment options include distillation, reverse osmosis, or ion exchange.