Drought tips for communities and the public
Page last updated: August 6, 2012

During times of drought, there are some aspects related to environmental quality that should be considered by the public and communities. They include:

Air Quality and Open Burning
– NDEQ urges the public and communities to avoid or minimize burning, either in burn barrels or at permitted burn sites, during times of extended heat and drought. There are two main reasons for this: First, during extended dry periods, extra caution should be taken to avoid activities that could cause an uncontrolled fire. Second, burning contributes to air pollution. Air pollution from ozone and particulates gets higher during periods of extended heat, and unnecessary burning can compound the pollution and associated health risks. So, please think twice before burning during a drought.

Stay Aware of Air Quality Issues, Take Measures to Reduce Your Impact
-- As noted above, air pollution from particulates and ozone is generally higher during periods of extended heat, particularly in highly populated areas of eastern Nebraska. An excellent source of information regarding regional air quality and forecasts can be found at the AirNow web site, located at http://www.airnow.gov/ *. We can all help make a difference in air quality by following some simple tips. For tips on how to reduce your impact, go to: www.littlestepsbigimpact.com*

Animal Carcass Disposal
– Livestock mortality increases during extended drought conditions, and landowners should review the options for disposal. NDEQ provides guidelines for proper carcass disposal in the Fact Sheet “Disposal of Animal Carcasses” which can be found at http://deq.ne.gov/Publica.nsf/pages/06-201 .

Land application of wwtf effluent
– NDEQ’s revised wastewater regulations allow for the use of wastewater treatment effluent for land application under specific conditions. The rules relating to the use of effluent for irrigation can be found in Chapter 12 of Title 119 – Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Issuance of Permits Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. These rules can be found at: http://deq.ne.gov/RuleAndR.nsf/pages/119-Ch-12

Water consumption
– Increased residential water consumption during extended hot, dry periods can pose problems for local drinking water systems. Communities can establish measures to reduce consumption to reduce these impacts. For example, the Public Water System Drought Impact Reports, produced by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, lists numerous communities that have established yard watering restrictions as a means of dealing with the extended dry weather. These reports can be found at the DHHS Water Conservation and Drought Information web page: http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/enh_pws_conindex.aspx*. Another useful resource at the DHHS web site is : Water Conservation Tips*.

Nebraska’s “Drought Central”

The State of Nebraska has established
Drought Central *, Nebraska’s drought management web resource. From that location:
you should be able to find sources to answer your questions about agriculture assistance, human resource information and general drought management tips.

* This Page contains links to Non-NDEQ websites, these links will open in a New Tab or Window