Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nebraska Takes on Nitrate Challenges

By: Duane Craig

Farmers and residents in the area of York, Nebraska met recently to discuss the elevating levels of nitrates being found in groundwater, according to this report. To date, 17 communities have had one or more administrative orders on their municipal water supplies for elevated nitrate levels. Nitrate levels in large areas of Nebraska exceed the 10 ppm threshold. Not only that, levels are continuing to escalate.

Elevating levels of nitrates have been expected for at least a decade, even with drastic reductions in the amount of nitrogen that farmers are using to grow crops. That’s because decades of extremely heavy fertilizer applications have loaded the soils with nitrates that continue to work their way into water supplies. Besides being more specific in the timing of nitrogen applications, changes to existing rules would trigger new management levels at increasingly lower nitrate levels. Some of the public water supplies being affected include those of York, Seward, Utica, Polk, Osceola, Gresham, Henderson, Exeter and nine others.

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