Drinking Water Testing

Water Test Kit

Private Drinking Water Testing

Testing private drinking water supplies in Nebraska is not required by federal or state regulation, with some exceptions such as licensed childcare facilities and foster care home water supplies. County or city jurisdictions may have requirements for private water supply testing. In all situations the following factors should be considered:

  • Many contaminants can present a health risk if present in sufficient concentrations.
  • Minerals such as iron and manganese can make water less desirable for use.
  • Users of private drinking water wells must decide which contaminants to have their water tested for, and must order tests accordingly.
  • Annual tests for nitrate and bacteria are recommended.  However, testing only for nitrate and bacteria does not guarantee the water is safe.
  • Tests should be done for other contaminants when a contaminant is suspected.

All private water supplies contain dissolved substances, and at high concentrations some may be harmful. Having your private drinking water supply tested for quality at an approved laboratory helps ensure that your private drinking water is safe. See more in the following Nebraska Extension NebGuides:

Drinking Water: Testing for Quality* Discusses water testing methods for public and private water systems.

Drinking Water: Certified Water Testing Laboratories in Nebraska* Lists approved government and commercially operated laboratories.

Public Drinking Water Testing

All public water supplies are required to be tested for potentially harmful contaminants.

Public water supplies must provide water that meets or exceeds drinking water standards and must provide annual water quality reports referred to as consumer confidence reports (CCRs).

 CCR reports summarize water test results by:

  • indicating what regulated contaminants were detected in the water supply
  • reporting the concentration of the contaminants, and how the concentration compares to the maximum amount allowed.

Information presented within this section has been reviewed by current or former Nebraska Extension faculty including Bruce Dvorak, Sharon Skipton and Wayne Woldt.

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