The State Geological Survey has a new report on how heavily Nebraskans depend on secondary aquifers.
The state’s most famous aquifer is the Ogallala, but there are seven secondary aquifers that give life to crops, cattle, and communities.
Dana Divine, hydrogeologist with the Conservation and Survey Division, is co-author of the new survey of the four in eastern Nebraska and three in the Panhandle.
Water quality was one thing they examined.
“In western Nebraska there’s some naturally occurring uranium and arsenic, so we want people to be aware of that,” Divine tells Nebraska Radio Network. “In northeastern Nebraska, there’s naturally high sulfate in some aquifers. That’s an issue up there. Around Lincoln, there’s high salinity.”
Divine says those elevated arsenic levels may appear in wells installed in the Chadron aquifer.
In total, more than 4,000 active wells in 30 counties tap into a secondary aquifer.
Well owners can use the report to find out about the source of their water supply and its quality.
“And then also well drillers too,” she explains. “Sometimes they call us a say, ‘we’re not having luck getting water out of where we usually do for a specific project,’ and they want to know if they can go deeper.”
A digital copy of the “Overview of Secondary Aquifers in Nebraska” is available for free from the University of Nebraska’s Digital Commons website.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:43]