Howard Isaacs is the head of the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Drinking Water and Environmental Health.
He says Nebraska’s 1,344 public water systems are checked regularly for 83 contaminants and the majority are in compliance.
“Even under an enforcement action or in a violation mode, the system will be instructed to, perhaps, provide an alternate water to susceptible populations,” Isaacs tells Nebraska Radio Network. “No matter what the issue, there is a protective measure out there.”
Isaacs says he was surprised by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and says that would not happen in Nebraska.
He calls the situation there a mixed bag of a perfect storm.
“After (the problem in) Flint, all the EPA regions were asked to go back and review data,” Isaacs says. “EPA Region 7 reviewed everything that we had done here in the State of Nebraska along the lines of lead monitoring and found that, gosh, oh gee, we’re doing it right.”
Isaacs says older pipes in homes are a more likely cause of any lead contamination, not water from a public system.
Private well owners should use this week as a time to get their well water tested.
“Typically, on a private well, (the problems are) coliform bacteria and nitrate. Those are the two acute contaminants,” Issacs says.
Well owners can contact the DHHS Public Health Environmental Laboratory, to have a sample of their water tested.