For more information, contact:
Brian McManus (402) 471-4223
Amanda Woita (402) 471-4243
Or Emily Case (402) 471-4256

March 23, 2020

NDEE, DHHS to assess manganese levels in community water systems

March 23, 2020 -- The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sample for manganese in small community water systems serving populations under 10,000.

Manganese is an essential nutrient and is necessary for many bodily functions. However, at high levels, it may negatively impact the nervous system. It is not currently regulated or routinely tested for.

This grant will allow small public water systems to sample their water for manganese. This information will help communities and the residents they serve make informed decisions about their water sources and systems. The EPA already tests larger water systems for manganese. Test kits were recently sent to small water systems.

Water that contains 50 micrograms of manganese per liter may have an off taste, smell or color, but it would not have a negative health impact.

Communities should provide public notices if manganese reaches the following levels:
  • 300 micrograms/liter (mg/L) — This water should not be used to make infant formula. Formula-fed infants drink more water than older children per pound of body weight and are more sensitive to high levels of manganese because their nervous systems are still developing.
  • 1,000 micrograms/liter (mg/L) — This water should not be consumed by anyone in a community.

Those with private wells who want to sample for manganese can contact the State Environmental Health Laboratory, which can run this test for $19, at (402) 471-3935.

For more information, water operators may contact Mary Poe with the drinking water division at (402) 471-1003.