Becky Schuerman - Extension Associate, Domestic Water & Wastewater
Caption: A simple overview of how the water softening process works. As hard water enters the water softener, it filters through a resin that is supersaturated with a sodium (Na) brine. The calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) in the hard water attach to the resin beads and are exchanged for sodium (Na), thus making soft water for use throughout the home. Over time, the exchange resin becomes saturated with Ca and Mg and has to be regenerated with the Na brine solution so an effective water softening process can continue. (Graphic by Nebraska Extension)
Historical and current water quality monitoring shows that nitrate is present in groundwater throughout much of Nebraska. It is when results are at or above the 10mg/L Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) that hazardous health effects become a concern among humans and animals. Nitrate is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and the only way it can be detected in drinking water is through submitting a sample for laboratory testing.
Where Does Nitrate Come From and What is Nitrification?
Those residences that are not served by a public water system need a source of water for both consumption and daily needs. A private well most often fulfills these needs. While the cost of drilling a well is not a huge expense in the overall purchase or building of a home, it is a necessary expense to provide the residence with a useable water supply and it adds value to the property.
Warmer weather is here and our precipitation has changed from snow to rain, though snow melt also creates stormwater runoff. The next time it rains, go outside and notice how the rainwater moves from roof areas and gutters, driveways, walkways, and other concrete or asphalt surfaces. Make sure this water is not flowing toward your private drinking water well.