Central Platte NRD Requires Water and Soil Samples to Monitor Groundwater Quality

Central Platte NRD Requires Water and Soil Samples to Monitor Groundwater Quality


GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska – The Central Platte Natural Resources District (NRD) is reminding producers in Phases II/III of the NRD’s Groundwater Management Program to take water and soil samples to submit with their annual crop report. The samples are required to provide ongoing monitoring of nitrate levels in the District’s groundwater. The NRD staff samples an additional 700 irrigation and domestic wells for nitrate from Gothenburg to Columbus.

Central Platte NRD’s Groundwater Management Program was implemented in 1987 as a long-term solution to monitor and reduce high nitrate levels in groundwater. Producers have been instrumental in reducing nitrate levels in some areas by implementing more efficient technologies and practices; however, recent health studies released by the University of Nebraska Medical Center show a correlation between pediatric brain cancers and high nitrate levels in private wells. Many other cancers are showing the same nitrate correlation.  Homeowners who have private wells are advised to test their well annually to ensure that nitrate and other chemicals are not present in their drinking water.

Tricia Dudley, Water Quality Specialist, said “The online crop report is not just a reporting tool, the NRD has developed it to also help producers apply the proper amount of nitrogen on their fields.”

As producers fill in their data, the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s nitrogen application rate calculates and shows the producers the recommended amount for each field for the upcoming crop season. The form is available at

Sampling Requirements

  • Water Samples Required: Groundwater analysis for nitrogen content should be taken on each field. Water sample bottles are provided by your agronomist, crop consultant or laboratory.
  • Soil Samples Required: Deep soils analysis for residual nitrogen (NO3-N) must be taken on each field or 80-acre tract. The composite sample must consist of a mixture from no less than one three-foot probe every five acres. The report from the lab must be attached to the annual report.

Producers who do not submit the crop report form and samples by March 31st will be in violation of the CPNRD’s Groundwater Management Program. Certified violation letters will be sent to producers and violations will be enforced prior to the 2023 irrigation season. Potential penalties are the possibility of a fine ranging from $1,000 – $5,000 per violation and/or loss of irrigated acres, ineligibility for NRD cost-share, and restriction from transferring irrigated acres.  As a local government entity, the NRD receives local property taxes. The cost of violation letters and legal fees for those who do not comply is paid for by taxpayers in the District. An average cost to taxpayers each year is approximately $20,000.

To learn more about the NRD’s water and soil sampling requirements and for a list of local laboratories, contact Tricia Dudley at (308) 385-6282 or visit