Max Christensen on his way to pull out irrigation on Bell Creek bottom.

The biggest challenge of our generation will be how to preserve and conserve our greatest natural resource: water. According to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality 2016 Surface Water Integrated Resource Report, Nebraska now has 468 highly impaired waterways (Category 4 & 5).  Now is the time to start having the conversation on how we manage our water resources so that the next generation will have a clean and steady supply.  It doesn’t matter if you are rural or urban, we both need water and what happens in rural impacts urban.

That is why GC Resolve is partnering with the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in order to raise public awareness about rising water quality issues in order to protect our public's health.


The Citizen Scientist Program


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 agency, such as the U.S. EPA or Nebraska DEQ.

If you are interested in having your water tested, please contact GC Resolve.


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.


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.


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 23rd-29th       September 3rd-9th       November 18th-24th

  • 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 are interested in volunteering to measure plant nutrients in your water, please contact us using the information below. Please provide your name, preferred phone number and/or email address. Volunteers are needed in the following counties: Burt, Cass, Colfax, Cuming, Butler, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Lancaster, Madison, Platte, Polk, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Thurston, Wayne and Washington.

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