High Levels of Nitrate in our Groundwater Pose Challenges for the Future

High Levels of Nitrate in our Groundwater Pose Challenges for the Future


NORFOLK, Nebraska – The effects of groundwater contamination can be felt across the state, with most of the pollution sources pointing to commercial fertilizers. Applying the right form at the right time at the right rate in the right place - this method of nitrogen management is referred to as the “4Rs”. By using this method, producers can save time and money, all while protecting our groundwater.

One of the responsibilities of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is the development, management, utilization, and conservation of groundwater. At the LENRD’s May board meeting, the members discussed ways to work together in managing resources for the future.

“We have a rich history of agriculture in this state," said LENRD General Manager Mike Sousek. "We want to work with producers to proactively manage our resources and secure the future that we desire for our children and grandchildren. As we continue to assess the nitrogen contamination across northeast Nebraska, we’ll be working to develop management plans as we challenge each other to improve the ways we protect our groundwater.”

The LENRD launched a website, bringing to light the concerns that are plaguing northeast Nebraska. Visit to find out more about the rising levels of nitrate in our groundwater and the steps that are being taken to address the environmental and health issues associated with this problem.

Also during the meeting, the board denied the additional funding request from the City of Randolph for Phase 2 of their flood control project in the amount of $356,952.25. Phase 1 construction is underway and almost completed. The Phase 2 design is nearing completion, with the estimated total costs coming in higher than the original estimate. The LENRD has been partnering with the city on this project for the past 18 years and have contributed more than $1.97 million to date. The LENRD also assisted with the costs to study the project area for a total of $165,319.53. Through the studies, it was determined the most cost-effective option was the widening of the Middle Logan Creek channel that runs through Randolph. This project will allow for a large portion of the city to be taken out of the 100-year flood plain.

The board approved a bid from Unkel Construction to repair or replace the living room window at the superintendent’s residence at Maskenthine Lake, not to exceed $8,000.

The board also approved the Wellness Program for staff for a total of $3,220. The Program encourages employees to take advantage of the wellness benefits available through the NARD health insurance, especially blood screenings. Flu shots are also provided for the staff as well as incentives for increasing physical activity and healthy eating.

In other action, the board accepted, with regret, the resignation of fellow board member Bob Huntley of Norfolk. In a letter to the board Bob said, “I was proud to represent the people of Subdistrict 3 and hope my replacement will be as dedicated as I have been over the years.”  Bob served on the board since 2005. The board will advertise to fill the position.

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 and sign up for our monthly emails. The next board of directors meeting will be Thursday, June 24, at LENRD office in Norfolk at 7:30 p.m. and on Facebook Live.