Free nitrate sample kits for private drinking water wells in Nebraska

(Courtesy photo.)

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy is offering free nitrate sample kits and lab analyses to private drinking water well owners across the state. These kits are only available for a limited time until Jan. 31, 2024.

Well owners who participate will receive their sample results, and NDEE will use the data from this sampling effort in a statewide nitrate study that the agency is currently conducting. The study will include nitrate sampling data from public water systems and from private drinking water well owners who agree to participate. Well owners’ identifying information will not be used in the study.

Nebraska’s private drinking water well owners can request a free nitrate sample kit, which comes with sampling instructions and pre-paid return postage, through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at Those without access to the internet who need help requesting a free sample kit may call NDEE at 402-471-2186.

The state does not regularly conduct sampling in private drinking water wells because they are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Public participation in this free sampling event is key to ensuring the nitrate study accurately encompasses private drinking water wells in Nebraska.

NDEE has sent postcards to more than 29,000 registered domestic well owners in Nebraska inviting them to participate in this study. The free sample kits and lab analyses are offered to all Nebraskans with a private drinking water well—not just those who received a postcard or have a registered well.

Collecting the sample is easy. Allow the cold water tap to run for three minutes, then fill the plastic container provided in the sample kit, being careful not to overfill. More detailed instructions will be provided with the sample kit.

If a private well owner’s results are above 10 parts per million of nitrate, they may be eligible for NDEE’s Reverse Osmosis Rebate Program to treat their water. This program offers up to $4,000 in rebates to well owners whose wells are registered through the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and whose wells sample above 10 ppm of nitrate.

Applications for the RO system rebates must be submitted by June 30, 2024. NDEE accepts and reviews RO rebate applications on a month-to-month basis. Learn more about the RO Rebate Program on NDEE’s website at