Citizen Scientist

What?

Good water quality is important to the health of the public. In communities surrounded by agriculture, there is potential for contamination of water resources by manure and fertilizer application. Nitrates and phosphates are plant nutrients needed for improved growth, but excesses of these nutrients cause adverse impacts on water resources. Excess plant nutrients also pose a health risk to those who depend on these water resources. The goal of our program is to measure levels of plant nutrients present in well water, rivers and streams within the Elkhorn and Lower Platte River basins.

The reason we are testing of private wells on farms is to give an opportunity to farm families to improve their health by identifying potential contamination of drinking water supplies by excess nutrients. This program is not affiliated with or under the direction of any regulatory body, such as the U.S. EPA.

Who?

This program is a collaboration between the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and GC Resolve.

How?

The University of Nebraska will provide all testing materials to volunteers. Volunteers will measure the concentrations of key nutrients, nitrates and phosphates, using rapid test strips that provide an accurate and reliable results in less than 1 minute. All volunteers will receive training (30 minutes) to ensure that they are comfortable with the tools provided.

The information that you collect will be sent to the University of Nebraska, by either mail or email, for analysis. Expert faculty and staff will answer questions and provide feedback to you on the levels of plant nutrients in the water that you tested. As a volunteer, you are will be kept informed about the results of this program and alerted to future opportunities to improve your water resources.

When?

We need volunteers during one or more of these testing weeks in 2018. We are also looking for volunteers who can test water samples throughout the entire year.

April 22nd-May 5th

July 22nd-August 5th

October 22nd-November 4th

  • You will only need to measure your well water and/or local waterway once during each of these 1-week periods.
  • If desired, you may have the opportunity to measure multiple locations along a river, tributary, or numerous wells.

To Volunteer:

If you want to test your water and live in Burt, Cass, Colfax, Cuming, Butler, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Lancaster, Madison, Platte, Polk, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Thurston, Wayne or Washington Counties please click here to register for water testing.

If you are interested in volunteering to measure plant nutrients in your water, please contact us using the information below.

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt
University of Nebraska
402-554-3868 | sbartelt2@unl.edu
1110 S. 67th St
Omaha, NE 68182-0178

Thank you for considering this opportunity to participate in monitoring your water resources!