Emergency Hotline:

402.554.7777

24 hours a day / 7 days a week


What is an Emergency?

Gas leaks, odor of gas, damaged lines, carbon monoxide symptoms and water main breaks are all considered emergencies.

If you smell gas, do not attempt to locate the leak. Instead, leave the house or building right away. Do not use any electrical switches, appliances, lights, telephones, or mobile devices, as an electrical charge could create a spark. When you are in a safe place, call M.U.D.'s emergency hotline at 402.554.7777 or 9-1-1.

If someone is showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 9-1-1 immediately. Symptoms are like the flu.

If you have a water-related emergency, call 402.554.7777. Our personnel are ready to assist you 24/7. When in doubt, call us immediately.

Learn More
Metropolitain Utilites District
I want to:
EMERGENCY (EMERGENCIA)

Safety FAQs - Water

Safety

Can I use bottled water in my fish tank?

Bottled water may have chloramines in it because some bottlers use tap water for their product. Check the label.

Which chemicals in the water should concern pond owners?

According to Todd Kallhoff, owner of The Pond Guy, all ponds need a biological filter to remove the ammonia via the nitrogen cycle. De-chlorinators are not necessary unless pond owners increase their pond's water capacity by more than 5 percent at one time.

Tests should ensure the pH, or acidity and alkalinity levels are in the neutral range of 5.6 to 7.4.

Is there any free ammonia in the water that is corrosive to copper pipe?

Free ammonia, if any, will not be a significant factor in copper pipe corrosion.

I saw a story that said Omaha's water ranks among the worst in the nation. Is this true?

No, that is an inaccurate old story circulating on the internet and social media for the last several years. M.U.D. water meets all state and federal standards for safe drinking water. The Nebraska Health Department and U.S. EPA regulates your tap water. Please check the annual water quality report for accurate information via mudomaha.com. Click the Water tab and then follow the links to the water quality report.

To request a printed copy, please contact Customer Service at customer_service@mudnebr.com or call 402.554.6666. The Water Quality Report is published in May each year.

Water >> Safety >> Chloramine

Do chloramines affect my swimming pool?

No. You still will need a free chlorine residual to retard algae and bacteria growths. Contact your local pool supply stores for specific information.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

Will the water filter I've been using to remove chlorine from my water at home also remove chloramine?

Any activated carbon water filter will remove chloramine just as it removes chlorine. However, consult your manufacturer for specific information.

Is chloramine safe?

Yes. Chloramines have been used safely in the U.S. and Canada for many years. EPA recommends chloramines as a disinfectant. If not for disinfectants, disease-causing organisms such as typhoid and cholera could be carried in your drinking water.

CHLORAMINATED WATER IS SAFE FOR EVERYONE TO DRINK, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children and infants
  • People on kidney dialysis
  • People on low-sodium diets
  • People with diabetes
  • Warm-blooded pets (dogs, cats, birds, pigs, etc.)

Chloraminated water is safe for all warm-blooded* animals, including humans, to drink because the digestive process neutralizes the chloramine before it reaches the bloodstream. In fact, consumers in cities with chloraminated water report the water tastes better because it has less of a chlorine odor or taste. Chloraminated water also is safe for bathing, cooking and all uses we have for water every day.

*Chloraminated water is NOT safe for cold-blooded animals

What is the amount of chloramine in the water?

It ranges from two to three milligrams per liter.

Does chloramine present any danger to people who are sensitive to chemicals?

The amount of chloramine in the water is extremely small. If you are concerned that even a low concentration may cause problems for you, check with your physician.

Why is chloramine a problem for kidney dialysis patients?

In the dialysis process, water comes in contact with the blood across a permeable membrane. Chloramine in dialysis water is toxic, just as chlorine in dialysis is toxic.

What precautions for chloramine should kidney dialysis patients take?

Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines. There are two ways to remove these disinfectants: Adding ascorbic acid or using a granular activated carbon treatment. 

Medical centers that perform dialysis are responsible for treating the water that enters dialysis machines. We notified all medical facilities to treat the water to remove chloramine, just as they do for chlorine.

Home dialysis service companies usually make the modifications needed, however you should check with your equipment supplier and/or physician. Chloraminated water is safe for kidney dialysis patients to drink.

If you have any questions, please consult your physician.

Is chloramine harmful to fish?

Chloramine is toxic to cold-blooded animals, such as fish, because it passes through the gills of the fish or the skin of the reptile, and directly enters the bloodstream.

Fish tank and pond owners, including zoos, hobbyists, restaurants, fish markets, grocery stores with lobster tanks and bait shops with fish containers, must have appropriate filtration equipment or use water treatment products to neutralize chloramine.

Chloraminated water should be treated before it is added to your tank, aquarium, pond or goldfish bowl. Carbon filters on your tank may not remove chloramine from the tap water that is added directly to your tank.

Chloramine will not dissipate from boiling or holding water in open, standing containers. Chemical additives for dechloraminating water you add to your tank or pond (makeup water) are available at pet/fish supply stores.

Tap water used with artificial sea salts for makeup water in salt water fish tanks must be dechloraminated.

Carbon filters should be operated at a slow rate for best chloramine removal. They should be monitored carefully to determine when the carbon media has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be changed. Manufacturers often indicate the maximum number of gallons that can be filtered before renewal of the filters is required. Check with the supplier for proper operation. Testing the residual from the filter will help determine the best filtration rate.

Runoff from lawns or gardens should not be allowed to enter a pond because the possible presence of chloramines, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and/or any other material that may contaminate the pond.

Does chloramine affect your swimming pool?

No. You still will need a free chlorine residual to retard algae and bacteria growths. Contact your local pool supply stores for specific information.

I've seen warnings against mixing chlorine and ammonia because it creates a dangerous gas. Isn't it dangerous if this mixture is in my drinking water?

The chloramine in the water is not dangerous because the concentration of these materials is much smaller than it would be if you accidentally mixed the chemicals. Also, because chloramine is dissolved into the water, it is not available to the air as a gas.

Will the water filter I use to remove chlorine from my water at home also remove chloramine?

Any activated carbon water filter removes chloramine just as it removes chlorine. However, consult your manufacturer for specific information.

Does chloramine change the pH of water?

No. It continues to be about 9.

Does chloramine provide better protection in domestic hot water systems from Legionella?

We know of no evidence that chloramine offers more protection against Legionella. Chlorine is driven off during the heating of hot water whereas chloramine does not.  Chlloramine residual does not dissipate as readily as free chlorine and stays in the water longer.

If chloramine kills goldfish in a fish bowl, does it kill the fish in the rivers once the water gets into the sewer systems?

Water enters sanitary sewers that flow to the sewage treatment plants. Chloramine is neutralized or "used up" before it gets to the sewage treatment plants by a combination of time and the amount of bacteria (organic matter) in the sewage. Sewage plants add chlorine in their treatment process and are limited in the amount of chlorine that can be discharged into streams.

How about using chloraminated water on ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit or nut trees? Is beneficial bacteria harmed?

The small amount of chloramine that is in the water should have no effect on plants of any type. Beneficial bacteria generally will be protected by the soil in which they live. Chloramine is removed by the high chlorine demand in the soil.

Water >> Safety >> Chromium

Why is chromium in the news?

On December 20, 2010 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report on the presence of hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) in 35 cities throughout the country. The District currently monitors for total chromium, which includes the most commonly found forms of the element, Cr-3 and Cr-6. The EWG reported the drinking water in Omaha contained 1.07 micrograms per liter (parts per billion, ppb). One part per billion corresponds to 1 minute in 2,000 years or 1 penny in $10 million.

What is chromium?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in air, rock, soil, groundwater, surface water and a variety of foods. It is an essential element in the human diet. The most stable forms are Cr-3 and Cr-6.

What is the Cr-6 level in Omaha’s water?

The District monitors total chromium in the drinking water on a monthly basis. The tests are performed by the District’s certified laboratory as well as Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services. The levels vary between less than 1 parts per billion (ppb) to 7.1 ppb throughout the year depending on source water.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

What is the difference between an MCL and an MCLG or public health goal?

A MCLG or PHG is a level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to human health. MCLGs are non-enforceable public health goals. An MCL is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are enforceable standards that are set as close to the MCLG as feasible, using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. The EPA has set an MCL for total chromium at 100 ppb.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

Is there an MCL for Cr-6?

The EPA has set the MCL for total chromium at 100 ppb. This includes all forms of chromium (Cr-3 and Cr-6). The state of Nebraska adopted the standard. The regulation does not require differentiation between Cr-3 and Cr-6. The MCL is based on levels that may cause “allergic dermatitis.”

Research shows Cr-6 may cause an irritation at levels around 25-50 ppb and may have a cancer effect at levels in excess of 10 ppm (parts per million). One part per million is 1,000 parts per billion and corresponds to 1 minute in 2 years or 1 penny in $10 thousand.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

Is Cr-6 harmful for me at the levels found in Omaha’s water?

M.U.D. is confident Omaha’s water is safe to drink at the present levels of chromium in its water. Research demonstrates that Cr-6 is converted to Cr-3 in the stomach due to the low pH of the stomach acids. The conversion occurs at pH <4.5. The normal pH of the stomach is in the range of 1 to 3.5. However, there are certain medications which can increase the stomach pH above these levels.

What are other sources of chromium through oral exposure?

Chromium is a naturally occurring element and an essential nutrient. Dietary supplements, including multi-vitamins and some energy drinks contain chromium levels from 35 micrograms to more than 1,000 micrograms. As it is naturally occurring, one gram of house dust can contain up to 400 micrograms of chromium. Even cookware and eating utensils may contain some trace amounts of chromium.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

What is M.U.D. doing about Cr-6 in the drinking water?

The EPA is working on regulating Cr-6. They expect to have an MCL for Cr-6 by the end of 2011 or early 2012. The District will take whatever steps are necessary to comply with the regulation.

The District has initiated the process with the EPA to develop an effective monitoring program. The District also maintains close communication with Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Douglas County Health Department to ensure the safety of the water.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

How can I reduce my exposure to Cr-6 in drinking water?

The most effective way to reduce Cr-6 in water is through reverse osmosis. Certain ion exchange filters also have been shown to be effective at its removal. Theoretically, activated carbon should remove Cr-6, however this has not been proven.

(The District does not recommend or endorse any type of point of use device as described above. CAUTION: All point of use devices should be professionally installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serious illness may result if the product is not installed and maintained properly.)

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

Water >> Safety >> Lead

Is there lead in the water supplied by M.U.D.?

Our water quality surpasses all federal and state standards. The current standard for lead is 15 parts per billion.

Many homes may have lead service pipes or copper plumbing with lead soldered joints. When water is corrosive, lead can be dissolved into the water from the pipes. The water supplied by M.U.D. is not corrosive. It actually protects the water from lead in pipes or joints by forming a harmless buildup of minerals inside the pipes.

Steps to Limit Lead Exposure in Drinking Water

While water providers have taken steps to limit lead in drinking water, you can take the following steps if you are concerned about your lead exposure:

  • You can't see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure the lead levels in your home or workplace. If you choose to have your tap water tested, be sure to use a properly certified laboratory. Testing usually costs between $20 and $100.
  • Flushing your water tap is a simple method to help you avoid high lead levels. Flushing clears water from your plumbing and home service line to ensure you are getting drinking water from the main, where lead is rarely present. Let the water run from the tap until it is noticeably colder (this may take two minutes or more) before using it for cooking or drinking. Flushing the tap is particularly important when the faucet has gone unused for more than a few hours, because the longer water resides in your home's plumbing, the more lead it may contain.
  • The water from this "first flush" need not be wasted. You can use it for other purposes such as watering plants. You also might consider drawing your drinking or cooking water shortly after a high-use water activity such as bathing or washing. Those activities will flush a significant amount of water from your home's pipes.
  • If you live in a high-rise building with many water pipes, flushing the tap may not be effective in reducing lead levels. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, talk to your landlord or consult your local health department about ways to minimize your exposure.
  • Use only cold water for cooking or drinking. Lead leaches more easily into hot water than cold water. Boiling water DOES NOT remove lead.
  • Have a licensed plumber determine if your home contains lead solder, lead pipes or pipe fittings that contain lead. A plumber can also determine if your home has a lead service line connecting your home plumbing to the community water system's water main. The presence of these materials does not mean you have lead in your water, but the potential exists.
  • Make sure that repairs to copper piping do not use lead solder.
  • Some home treatment devices remove lead, but not all do. Before you purchase a home treatment device, you should verify the manufacturer's claims. A good resource to assist you is NSF International http://www.nsf.org.
  • Once a treatment device is installed, make sure it is properly maintained. Using bottled water is also an alternative. (Information on the lead levels in bottled water is available from bottled water manufacturers.)
  • Consult with your family doctor or pediatrician to receive a blood test for lead and learn more about the health effects associated with exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children be tested for lead.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.

Is there a national problem with lead in drinking water?

So far there does not appear to be a national problem with lead in drinking water, however U.S. EPA is looking into this. U.S. EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule seems to be working as intended. Where there is a compliance problem, U.S. EPA or a State may take action to correct the situation.

To see the latest Water Quality Report, visit the Water tab.