Newsroom > DHHS News Release


June 5, 2008

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047,
Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9313 or (402) 326-4277,

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Water Quality May Be A Concern After Recent Storms

Lincoln—Owners of domestic wells affected by the recent storms are encouraged to test their wells for bacteria as soon as possible, according to Jack Daniel, administrator of the Office of Drinking Water and Environmental Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Wells in the areas affected by the storms should be tested if they were flooded or have observed changes in water quality.

"If you know that your well has been impacted or suspect that it has been impacted by flood waters, get your water tested," Daniel said. "Cloudiness, a change in taste or an odor can indicate problems, so don’t drink the water."

Alternatives for homeowners with flooded wells are purchasing bottled water or using household bleach to disinfect the water. Water can be disinfected with bleach by adding 1/8 teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Another alternative is boiling water for one minute to kill the bacteria. Don’t boil the water if a high nitrate level (greater than 10 parts per million) is known or suspected in the water supply. Boiling will concentrate the nitrates and increase the health risk associated with that contaminant. Drink bottled water or disinfect with household bleach until testing has determined that the nitrate level is below 10 parts per million.

For more information, call your local health department or call the Office of Drinking Water and Environmental Health at (402) 471-6435. A testing kit can be obtained by calling the Environmental Health Laboratory at (402) 471-3935.

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