Good water quality is important to your health and the health of your community. In communities surrounded by agriculture, there is potential for contamination of water resources by manure and fertilizer application. Nitrate and phosphate are nutrients needed for improved plant growth, but excesses of these nutrients cause adverse impacts on water resources and those who depend on these water resources.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNL offers free nitrate and phosphate screening test kits for rural homeowners and community members to use in order to learn a bit more about the water quality of well and surface water. Each test takes less than a minute to complete and can help you determine if you should seek additional testing from a laboratory. The program is not affiliated with or under the direction of any regulatory body, such as the EPA. But rather it is a citizen scientist project focused at providing information to rural homeowners and communities so they can make informed decisions.
The program is administered twice a year during the months of May and September. Test kits can be picked up from your local Extension Office or you can request to have them mailed to your house by visiting go.unl.edu/waterqualitytest. Both at the Extension Offices and on the website, have resources on how to properly administer each of the tests.
The only cost to you for participating in the program is to report your results back to Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Individual results are aggregated into a large data set for individuals to view and see a snapshot of water quality across the state of Nebraska. The data can be used locally or regionally to help individuals and communities make better decisions regarding their health through improving water quality.
Otoe County Extension 620 1st Street, Syracuse NE 68446 Phone: 402-269-2301