As a customer of the District, you receive a high quality product that meets every federal and state standard for safe drinking water. View the most current report at: 2016 Water Quality Report.
Since we do not have the capability or resources to determine health risks of chemical compounds found in the water, we must rely on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Nebraska Health and Human Services to tell us what substances are a health risk and if they are a health risk, what levels are safe for human consumption.
To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations to limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health risks may be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline, 800.426.4791, or visiting their website.
M.U.D. adds fluoride to its treated water to promote dental health. Fluoridation was approved by Omaha voters in 1968. In 2008, the Nebraska Unicameral passed LB 245 which requires all Nebraska cities and towns with populations over 1,000 to add fluoride to public water systems. Both the Missouri and Platte Rivers have naturally occurring fluoride in the range of 0.3 to 0.5 parts per million (ppm). The District adds enough fluoride to make the tap water concentration approximately 0.8 ppm, well below the federal limit of 4.0 ppm. Questions about drinking water? Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800.426.4791 or go to their website.
Chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, are used to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the water. Approximately 20 percent of water supply systems in the U.S., including Council Bluffs and Lincoln, use chloramine as a disinfection agent. M.U.D. changed the water disinfection process at its water treatment plants January 21, 2003 to ensure your drinking water continues to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for safe drinking water.
Previously, we used chlorine for both primary and secondary disinfection in the water treatment process to guard against bacterial growth in the distribution system. Like many other communities, we experienced elevated levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) with chlorine as a disinfectant. THMs are a suspected carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), created in small amounts as a by-product when natural organics in water combine with chlorine.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the standard to 80 parts per billion January 1, 2002, as the maximum level of THMs allowed in drinking water. Our treated water averaged 74 parts per billion. The District may have exceeded the new standard on occasion with only chlorine as a disinfectant.
The EPA recommends chloramines as a disinfectant and as a way to avoid THM formation. Chloramines insure water remains bacteria-free for a longer time period than chlorine. With chloramines, we expect the THM level to average 40 parts per billion. Chlorine continues to be the primary disinfectant. Chloramines are used for secondary disinfection. Estimated costs to use chloramines are $3.7 million for capital improvements and $200,000 per year for operation costs.
Customers can find out if they have a lead service line by contacting Customer Service at 402.554.6666.
To reduce the chance of exposure to lead only use water from the cold tap for cooking and drinking. If the tap has not been used in more than a half hour, flush water through the faucet for 30 seconds to a minute before using it. Also remove and clean the aerator on the faucet on a regular basis.
Results for Lead and Copper Rule compliance are available in our annual water quality report on the Water page. The most recent round of lead and copper testing was completed in August 2016. The 90th percentile (action level) was 6.38 ppb, well below the regulatory limit of 15 ppb. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) approved our sample locations. The DHHS laboratory actually performs the testing for lead and copper.
If there is lead in my drinking water, where does it come from?
Lead in drinking water rarely comes from the water treatment plant or from water mains. Lead comes from faucets, plumbing fixtures and lead solder within the home and from lead service lines, if they are present. Lead is seldom found in natural sources of drinking water.
We test water sources monthly for lead as well as many other contaminants. Lead is not present in the source water. The water M.U.D. customers receive is treated so that it is not corrosive to plumbing. The minerals in the water form a scale on the plumbing which inhibits the water from picking up the metals from the pipes and faucets.
What can M.U.D. customers do?
To find out if you have a lead service, you can call Customer Service at 402.554.6666. To reduce the chance of exposure to lead, only use water from the cold tap for cooking and drinking. If the tap has not been used in more than a half hour, flush water through the faucet for 30 seconds to a minute before using it. Also remove and clean the aerator on the faucet on a regular basis.
As a reminder, water services are owned and the responsibility of the property owner. Homeowners should also install plumbing fixtures containing no lead. Information on plumbing fixtures and in-home filters is provided by the National Sanitation Foundation at 1-800-NSF-MARK or www.nsf.org.
M.U.D. meets all state and federal water quality standards so home water treatment devices are not necessary. Use of a supplemental filter is a personal preference, however it can also be harmful if not properly maintained. In selecting a filter, determine what substance(s) is/are to be removed and look for a filter that has a NSF/UL certification to remove it.
Can my water be tested for lead?
If you are concerned about elevated lead levels in your home’s water, you may want to have your water tested. Flushing the tap for 30 seconds to a minute before using your tap water will clear the line of any lead that may have leached into the water while the line was idle. Regular removal and cleaning of the aerator on the faucet spout may reduce exposure to lead as well as bacteriological contaminants.
Additional information is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, call 800.426.4791, visit their website, or call Nebraska Health & Human Services Division of Public Health, Office of Drinking Water, 402.471.2541.
Source water assessment
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) completed the source water assessment which includes a wellhead protection area map, potential contaminant source inventory, vulnerability rating and source water protection information. In 2013, to better protect the quality of the water in our well fields, we completed wellhead protection plans for our Platte South and Platte West well fields.
Wellhead protection is the management of the land surrounding a water supply well to prevent contamination of the water supply. The plans provide a detailed account of the potential threats to the facilities and a summary of existing and recommended management strategies.
To view the source water assessment report or the wellhead protection plans visit the Water Quality page and search for the files in the Related Resources box. If you have additional questions, please contact Customer Service at 402.554.6666 or e-mail email@example.com.
Use of a supplemental filter is a personal preference, however it can also be harmful if not properly maintained. In selecting a filter, determine what substance(s) is/are to be removed and look for a filter that has a NSF/UL certification to remove it. Information on plumbing fixtures and in-home filters is available from the National Sanitation Foundation by calling 1.800.NSF.MARK or visiting www.nsf.org.
Does using a home water treatment device guarantee my water is safe?
No. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend home treatment devices as a substitute for public water treatment because of the difficulty in monitoring their performance. Home treatment devices are not tested or regulated by the federal government. Some, however, are tested by independent laboratories. If you want to use a water treatment device, carefully choose one according to the water conditions in your area. Also, be aware that a device needs to be properly maintained or it could cause water quality problems.