62161 Hwy 136
Tecumseh NE 68450
(402) 335-3325
Fax (402) 335-3265
Water Programs

Groundwater Rules and Regulations (effective December 15, 2014)

Proposed Chemigation Rules & Regulations Changes

Flood Control

With over 350 watershed structures, the Nemaha NRD is a leader in flood control and grade stabilization in Nebraska.  Nine of the 19 watersheds in the District have completed flood control and grade stabilization structures.  Funding for the projects has come largely from federal funds; however, recently the District has used state and local grants and funds to install flood control dams in the Upper Little Nemaha and Turkey Creek Watersheds.

Currently all 19 planned flood control dams in the Upper Little Nemaha Watershed are complete.  This watershed covers parts of Lancaster, Cass, and Otoe Counties and includes the towns of Eagle, Bennet, Palmyra, Unadilla, and Syracuse. Because costs outweighed required benefits for federal funding eligibility, the NRD has partnered with the Nebraska Resources Development Fund to build these structures.  In addition, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds also supplemented the costs of some of the dams.  Nebraska Environmental Trust Funds contributed toward some construction costs as well as required mitigation of grass and trees in the watershed.

A shining example of partnership is the Turkey Creek Watershed program.  Also deemed ineligible for federal funding, the project was funded through grants from the Environmental Trust, federal Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), local NRD funds, and landowner contributions.  This watershed extends along the southwestern edge of the District including the west half of Pawnee County and a portion of southwest Johnson County.

Well Registration

A new law recently passed by the Legislature has stirred up a lot of concern and interest in registering existing wells.  However, landowners can rest assured that the requirements are not intended to penalize those who have "illegal" wells.

Since September 9, 1993, all new wells, including domestic wells, have been required to be registered with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (formerly the Department of Water Resources).  Irrigation wells have been required to be registered since 1957.  Wells which are required to be registered are consider illegal until registered or until properly abandoned if no longer used.  Penalties for non-compliance may include a $500 fine.  But anyone who voluntarily registers a well will not be assessed the fine.

According to the Department, wells used for solely domestic purposes, for livestock water, or for both are all considered to be domestic wells.

To obtain a copy of a well registration form, contact the Nemaha NRD in Tecumseh (402-335-3325) or the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources in Lincoln (402-471-2363). You may also click here to download the form.

Wells pumping 50 gpm or less will cost $70 to register.
Wells pumping above that amount are registered at the rate of $110 each.

Well Abandonment

75% cost-share is available (up to $500 for drilled wells or $700 for hand dug wells) to properly close and seal abandoned wells.  Abandonment must be completed by a licensed well driller within 90 days after approval.

Sign up anytime at the Nemaha NRD office in Tecumseh or request an application using our online form.


  1. A NNRD well abandonment program application and aerial photo of the section with the location of the well denoted must be submitted prior to closure.
  2. NNRD approval is required before the well abandonment procedures begin.
  3. The well(s) must be closed according to the Department of Health & Human Services and Department of Environmental  Control Title 178 regulations governing water well abandonment standards and a licensed well driller must conduct the work.
  4. The NNRD will pay 75% cost-share assistance on approved well abandonment costs up to a maximum of $500 for each cased well and $700 for each hand dug well.
  5. Eligible cost-share does not include payment for removal of any  exposed or buried pipes, tanks, pumps, tower, well house or other apparatus.
  6. The landowner has 90 days to complete work after receiving an approval letter from the NNRD.  It is the landowner's responsibility to keep the well driller on schedule.
  7. The NNRD may spot check the well(s) prior to, during, or after proper well abandonment.
  8. A description of the abandonment process completed on the State's "Notice of Water Well Decommissioning" form and an itemized copy of the bill listing labor and materials used must be submitted prior to payment.

Flowmeter & Soil Moisture Monitoring System Cost-Share Programs

 Applications for cost-share on water well flow meters and soil moisture monitoring systems are available. Landowners may be reimbursed 50% of the total cost of a new flowmeter up to a $500 maximum and/or 50% of the total cost of a new soil moisture monitoring system up to a $300 maximum. Program requirements include being a landowner within the District and agreeing to use, maintain, and report usage for a 5-year period. Any well that is capable of pumping 50 gallons per minute or more and not used for domestic purposes is eligible for the flow meter cost-share program.

Contact the NRD office for more information or to sign up for the programs.

Click here to download a Flowmeter Cost-Share Application
Click here to download a Soil Moisture Monitoring System Cost-Share Application

For more information concerning soil moisture monitoring systems, click here to learn about  evapotranspiration gages or click here to learn more about soil moisture sensors

Water Analysis Service


The Nemaha NRD will analyze irrigation and domestic water well samples for nitrate-nitrogen contamination FREE of charge to District residents. Domestic groundwater wells are the primary source of drinking water for many families within the District, and an annual analysis of private wells is highly recommended.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 parts per million (ppm) for nitrate nitrogen for public water supply systems. Public water supply systems (Rural Water and Municipal supplies) are regulated by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services System (DHHS); but private wells, however, are left to the well owner to manage. Annual nitrate analysis is highly encouraged for households with infants less than six months of age, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and/or elderly persons as these groups are the most susceptible. Nitrate in excess of 10 ppm can cause the potentially fatal methemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome” in infants less than six months of age. 

Water samples may be brought into the District office, or NRD staff will come to your home or farm and collect the sample. If bringing in a sample, please follow these few simple rules to insure sample reliability:

  1.  Always use a clean, plastic bottle or glass jar to collect the sample. Sampling bottles are also available from the District office.
  2. Allow the cold water to run for approximately 5 minutes from well spigot, outside hydrant (remove hose), or house faucet to remove stagnant water in pipes and pressure tank. Please note the water must be untreated (no softened, distilled, or other treated water).
  3. Rinse bottle and cap; then fill bottle; and close cap tightly.
  4. Samples should be submitted for analysis as soon as possible after collection but may be stored up to 48 hours if refrigerated or kept on ice.

Results are generally available within just a few days. Samples that test above the 10 ppm MCL will be sent to a private laboratory for verification.


The Nemaha NRD is pleased to announce that bacteria analysis of water wells is also now available FREE of charge to District residents. Upon request, District staff will come to your home or farm and collect a water sample for total coliform and E. coli bacteria. The EPA has established a “no presence” MCL for bacteria in drinking water. The District highly recommends private wells also be tested annually for bacteria.

Coliform bacteria are microscopic, generally harmless organisms that live in the intestinal tract of many warm blooded animals including humans and are excreted into the environment through feces. Groundwater wells and household systems may become contaminated due to poor well construction/location, surface water runoff, and/or backflow. Although most coliform bacteria are not directly disease causing, some are often found with other, more dangerous strains of bacteria like E. coli, shigella and salmonella. Some strains of E. coli are know to cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious gastrointestinal problems.

To request further information or schedule
NRD staff to come collect a water sample, click here.

For more information on drinking water quality and private wells see the following links:”
U.S. EPA Groundwater and Drinking Water
University of Nebraska's Cooperative Extension
National Groundwater Association
Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services


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