Ryan Chapman, wellhead protection coordinator at the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, will present “Nitrates in Nebraska Groundwater and a Small Town’s Plight to Avoid Treatment” at 3:30 p.m. April 8 in the Hardin Hall auditorium, Room 107. The seminar is free and open to the public.
Nearly 500,000 analyses from 25,000 wells have been collected since 1974 and compiled in the State’s Quality-Assessed Agrichemical Database for Nebraska Groundwater. To support long-term trend analysis, a selection of approximately 1,300 wells, mostly irrigation, were identified and targeted for annual sampling.
Over the past year, multi-level dedicated monitoring wells were installed to supplement this network. Nitrate is Nebraska’s number one groundwater contaminant requiring 66 of the 550 groundwater-based community public water systems to perform quarterly sampling. An example of this is Edgar, Nebraska, which is a small community of 500 that first issued an administrative order for nitrate in 2005. Since that time, the community has initiated a community-based wellhead protection planning program, conducted numerous studies and implemented on-the-ground best management practices to avoid treatment. They are currently working on ways to utilize and protect better quality groundwater in bottom portions of the aquifer.
Discrete annular seals are being retrofitted into existing irrigation wells and abandoned wells are being decommissioned using explosion techniques to plug annular spaces. Cutting- edge, on-the-ground best management practices are also being implemented utilizing the latest variable rate irrigation and fertilization technologies on crop ground within their wellhead protection area.
The water seminar series is organized and sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute, which can be found at http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/, with support from Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.