LENRD Board Addresses High Nitrate Levels

WAYNE – A monitoring program conducted by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has provided evidence that nitrate concentrations are continuing to increase in some areas.

According to a release from the LENRD, one of the responsibilities of the NRDs is the development, management, utilization and conservation of groundwater as the quality and quantity of groundwater in checked annually.

Most recently, the data indicates elevated concentrations of nitrate in portions of Cuming, Colfax and Dodge counties, reaching levels that could pose health threats to humans and the environment.  It’s during these times when the LENRD board members are put in tough situations, dealing with resources that are shared among all citizens.

At their monthly committee meeting in July, the LENRD board of directors discussed a proposed resolution that would reaffirm their commitment to water quality management.

State Senator Tim Gragert of Creighton, representing District 40, addressed the board about the resolution and his personal commitment to the protection of natural resources.  He presented his own resolution at the meeting.

A high concentration of nitrate in drinking water is being linked to adverse health risks, such as: colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer, stomach and kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

Birth defects in Nebraska are on the rise, and within the LENRD evidence indicates that these health implications are increasing at a faster rate than the rest of the state. Health researchers are also gaining additional insight on the potential link between nitrate contamination in drinking water and Nebraska’s high rate of pediatric cancer. A study out of the University of Nebraska Medical Center has found that counties with groundwater nitrate concentrations between 2.1 and 5 mg/L have higher incidence of pediatric brain cancer, leukemia and lymphoma.

The LENRD has evidence of multiple townships within its boundaries with average concentrations of nitrate over 10 ppm.

To learn more about the 12 responsibilities of Nebraska’s NRDs and how your local district can work with you and your community to protect your natural resources, visit lenrd.org and sign up for their monthly emails. The next board of directors meeting will be Thursday, August 26 at the LENRD office in Norfolk at 7:30 p.m. and on Facebook Live.