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Contaminants such as gases, minerals, bacteria, metals, and other chemicals suspended or dissolved in drinking water can affect your health and influence the quality of your water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established limits, or standards, on the concentration of certain drinking water contaminants allowed in public water supplies. These limits are set to protect our health and ensure that our public water supplies are of good quality. If your water comes from a public water supply, you can contact your water supplier for information on its quality.
The quality of private water supplies is not regulated in Nebraska by federal or state drinking water mandates. If your water comes from a private well, the quality of your drinking water is at your discretion. EPA drinking water standards for public water supplies can serve as voluntary guidelines. You can compare your water test results with the EPA standards to assess the quality and risk associated with your water supply.
The EPA National Drinking Water Regulations, includes a list of regulated contaminants and their maximum allowable concentration. For more information on specific contaminants of concern in Nebraska, see Nebraska Extension NebGuides on the contaminants listed below:
- Hard Water/Calcium and Magnesium
- Iron and Manganese
- Nitrate - Nitrogen
- Sulfates and Hydrogen Sulfide
Drinking Water: Bottled, Tap, or Vended Provides in-depth discussion of the regulation and safety of drinking water from various sources, both public and private.
Information presented within this section has been reviewed by current or former Nebraska Extension faculty including Bruce Dvorak, Sharon Skipton and Wayne Woldt.