Since the warning from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that Hebron’s water tested high in nitrates, the culprit well with the high readings has been shut down and will stay that way until something is done.
In this case, says Hebron city supervisor Chris Fangmeier, the City may have to look at blending the water of two wells for a short-term solution, and drilling another well in a safer location for a long-term solution.
Monday night during the regular meeting of the Hebron City Council, Fangmeier presented information for both scenarios. Well No. 2, a minimal-use well, has always had higher nitrate readings than wells No. 1 and No. 3, Fangmeier said, and in the latest readings showed a nitrate level of 10.5, which is considered too high to be safe. Well No. 1 has always shown low readings of nitrates, so Fangmeier says blending the water of both wells will bring the nitrates to an acceptable level for well No. 2.
Although well No. 2 is used the least of all three wells, Fangmeier does not want to see it completely abandoned until another can be located. In order to do that, the nitrates must be controlled.
Locating another well could take two to three years, Fangmeier said.
In the meantime, the supervisor said, he has ordered more nitrate samples than are required to make sure the nitrate levels are safe. “Nitrates float on top of the water,” he said, “and in drought periods, as the water level goes down, chances of pumping those nitrates into the system go up.” Right now, both wells No. 1 and No. 3 have plenty of water and show safe nitrate levels.
“So our water is safe for the people of Hebron?” asked council president Larry Fangmeier. “We have safe water to drink?”
“Absolutely,” Fangmeier said.