Newly adopted NRD rule amendments deal with nitrates

On an 8-0 vote, the Upper Republican NRD board approved  amendments to its rules and regulations that guide groundwater control in the district.

No one testified at the Feb. 5 afternoon hearing on the amendments designed to monitor and protect groundwater quality in the district, specifically for the presence of nitrates.

Bruce Curtis, an NRD assistant manager, said the adopted amendments are twofold—one that looks at and follows up more closely on the health of the aquifer district-wide and another that identifies domestic wells with high nitrate levels and helping owners solve the problem.

Curtis said NRD staff has been taking water samples throughout the district to measure nitrate levels, and whether they are increasing or decreasing.

He said depending on the nitrate concentrations found, four phases on management can come into play. Landowners can review the phases on a map at the NRD office, he said.

The second part of the rule amendments deals with nitrate levels with regard to the human health effect.

Owners of domestic wells found to have nitrate levels at 10 (the EPA limit) or above will be visited and given recommendations on how to solve those nitrate problems, Curtis said.

He noted cities that have their own municipal water supply are not affected by the rule. They have their own nitrate water testing requirements mandated by the state.

No members of the public testified at the hearing.

New board member

Harry Merrihew of Imperial attended his first meeting as an NRD board member Feb. 5.

Recently moved to Imperial, Merrihew was appointed to the board’s subdistrict 5 seat previously held by Tom Gaschler, who moved out of town.

Merrihew is a retired rancher from Hyannis, where he also served on the school board, was a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen and a past chairman and board member of the State Brand Committee. He’s also a former director for the Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association (REMA).

In his letter of interest to the board, Merrihew said he has turned the ranch over to his son and is “pretty much retired.”

His daughter Jodi Spady and family reside in Enders.

The NRD board still has an opening unfilled for the subdistrict 8 seat in Perkins County. When full, the board has 11 members.


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