Nebraska’s Water Quality 2021 – What’s the Top Water Problems in Major Cities of NE

As a state resting in America’s heartland, Nebraska features a very diverse water supply. The state is fortunate to sit atop one of the largest aquifers in the country. Many streams, rivers, and lakes provide water, as well.

When asked about Nebraska, many people mention two primary things: cows and corn. While these two are elements that prop up the local economy, they also play a major role in the water problems across the state.

Agricultural runoff is a major polluter of many Nebraska waterways. Pesticides also make their way into the various sources, leading to the necessity for diligent water treatment policies in cities across Nebraska.

Unfortunately, the very treatment processes used to make the water safe for consumption can create their own unpleasant side effects. Water quality can be negatively impacted by chemical disinfectants that have a distinct smell or taste.

As water travels from source to tap, whether it be across the surface or resting underground, it absorbs minerals. This causes the common condition known as hard water. Hard water is not unsafe but does cause annoying issues around the home.

Common Water Problems by City

Each water source faces its own challenges. From contaminants to an excess of naturally occurring minerals, water treatment facilities across Nebraska have their work cut out for them making water safe to use and consume.

While many cities share water sources, each facility faces different challenges based on the many different influences including agriculture, industry, and commerce in the area.


Water Source

Common Problems

Typical Symptoms


Missouri River

Platte River

Dakota Sandstone Aquifer

Hard Water

Aggressive Treatment

Dry, Itchy Skin


Unpleasant Taste


Ogallala Aquifer

Hard Water

Iron & Manganese

Dry, Itchy Skin




The sheer number of water sources can make treating the Omaha water supply a challenge. The Metropolitan Utilities District does good work to make sure the water is safe to drink and use.

The treatment process involves the use of various chemicals and physical methods to disinfect and remove contaminants. Unfortunately, this can lead to a noticeable taste or smell as the water comes from the tap. While off-putting, the water is safe to use.

A naturally occurring process of mineral and earth metal absorption creates the condition widely known as hard water. This problem causes many headaches around the house.

Appliances can be strained by limescale buildups in their plumbing. This can lead to inefficiency or failure. Limescale is also notorious for staining fixtures and combining with soap products to form annoying soap scum deposits.

Those who use the water in Omaha for bathing may notice they have dry skin or mild itchiness shortly after drying off. These symptoms are not uncommon in households with hard water.


The water making its way to homes and businesses across Lincoln comes from one of the largest aquifers in the world. The water from this underground source is pulled up by wells and disinfected before being sent into the public system.

Water from aquifers is often considered relatively clean even before the disinfection process. However, as the water rests below the surface, it is able to absorb natural minerals and earth metals. This creates a condition called hard water.

Hard water is a nuisance around the home causing a variety of issues from inefficient appliances to slow taps. It is also known to dry the skin after being used for bathing.

The water also absorbs a high amount of iron and manganese. While safe for use and consumption, the water can become discolored. This discoloration can result in stained clothing and stains in sinks and appliances.