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Water quality testing taking place across the state

Posted at 9:37 AM, Jul 08, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln needs help.

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, a professor of civil engineering at Nebraska, is seeking citizen scientists to conduct water tests in August for a program that aims to track water quality across the state while also keeping Nebraskans safe. Bartelt-Hunt and her research team are asking volunteers to test their well water once between August 26-September 9 with a kit provided through the Citizen Science Water Quality Program. These kits measure nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates in the water. Elevated nitrates can cause disease in infants and pregnant women.

The data collected will also be used in research by Bartelt-Hunt and her partners in the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the College of Information Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The program was launched in 2018 to examine water quality and its effects on health and communities at large.

In 2018, 190 Nebraska citizens in 20 counties gathered 342 samples. In spring testing, 42 percent of samples were found to have elevated nitrate levels, and in fall testing, just 26 percent of samples had elevated levels.