Water Testing

Do You Have You Own Well?

20% of Nebraska's population depends on private wells for drinking water

15% of private water supplies are contaminated with coliform bacteria, have elevated nitrate levels, or both.


Water with nitrate levels higher than 10 parts per million is a concern for:

  • Infants under 6 months of age
  • Pregnant mothers
  • Elderly

Boiling water will not reduce nitrate levels

Coliform Bacteria

  • Coliform bacteria are microscopic and generally harmless organisms that live in the intestinal tract of many warm-blooded animals.
  • These organisms are excreted through feces and can make their way to the ground water.
  • Coliform bacteria are not direct disease causing but can be associated with other more dangerous strains of bacteria such as shigella, salmonella and E.coli.
  • Treatment of coliform bacteria is relatively simple and inexpensive. Shock chlorination can be used to clean up a well.

CDHD recommends that anyone using a private well, test their water every year for coliform bacteria.

**To request a water sample kit please call the laboratory office at 308-385-5175

Test costs

  • Coliform = $15.50
  • Coliform Special = $17.00
  • Nitrate = $15.00
  • Hardness = $15.00
  • Fluoride = $15.00
  • pH = $15.00

Explanation Of Results

Coliform - Your results will state if coliform bacteria was found to be "present" or "absent" in your water sample. Any amount of coliform bacteria is unsafe. Coliform bacteria itself may not cause illness but can be an indicator that other bacteria's that cause illness are present also. 

Nitrates - The safe range for nitrate is 0.0 - 10.0 mg/l. Anything higher than 10.1 mg/l is considered unsafe. Infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly are most susceptible to nitrate.

Hardness - Hard water is not a health risk but can be a nuisance. It can cause build up which can lead to appliance breakdown and poor soap/detergent performance. 0-6 grains/gallon is considered soft water, 7-17 grains/gallon is considered moderately hard, 18 grains/gallon is very hard.

Flouride - A range of 0.80 - 1.50 mg/l is optimal level for cavity prevention. Most water in Nebraska contains some flouride naturally.

pH - This measures the acidity or alkalinity. Normal range in Nebraska is 6.5 - 8.5. Anything over 7 is acidic anything under 7 is alkaline.