Different aspects of wells and wellhead management are regulated by various entities in Nebraska. Aspects regulated include well design and construction, water well contractors and other professionals, well decommissioning, well registration and more.
Entities with regulatory authority:
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
- Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
- Natural Resources Districts
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) Statutes and Regulations Title 178, Chapter 10 regulates licensure of water well and pump installation contractors; certification of water well drilling, pump installation and water well monitoring supervisors.
NDHHS Statutes and Regulations Title 178 Chapter 12 regulates water well construction, pump installation and water well decommissioning.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Title 456 Rules for Ground Water regulates well registration, notice of well abandonment and more. The DNR Title 457 Rules for Surface Water regulates surface water appropriations, diversion, instream flows and more.
Natural Resources Districts (NRD) have local responsibility for protecting groundwater from overuse and contamination. Each NRD has a plan to protect groundwater. State law has given the districts a variety of regulatory tools to deal with contamination, shortages, or user conflicts including implementing well drilling moratoriums and/or stays on expansion of irrigated acres, and implementing groundwater use allocations. Nearly every NRD also offers an attractive incentive to assist well owners with the cost of decommissioning out-of-service wells. Contact your local NRD to learn about programs that are available.
The State Wellhead Protection Program, under Focus on Water heading, is a voluntary program which assists public water suppliers in preventing contamination of their water supplies. The program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality with assistance from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
State Wellhead Protection Program activities include:
- delineating the zones of influence which may impact public supply wells
- training communities on how to inventory potential sources of pollution within these vulnerable zones
- working with the local officials to identify options to manage these potential pollution sources
- working on monitoring plans, helping develop contingency plans to provide alternate water supplies and site new wells
- providing decommissioning cost-share funds for wells in designated wellhead protection areas.
Information presented within this section of this Water Web site has been reviewed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Wellhead Management and Drinking Water team members David Shelton, Sharon Skipton, Bruce Dvorak, Wayne Woldt, and Jan Hygnstrom.