Frequently Asked Questions About Wells
Authors: David Shelton & Sharon Skipton, UNL Extension Educators
Q: I've heard that there is a moratorium on new wells in our area. Does that prevent me from having a new drinking water well drilled?
A: LB 962 was passed by the legislature in 2004. Every year, the Department of Natural Resources must determine which rivers are considered to be fully appropriated or over appropriated. The decision that a basin is over or fully appropriated triggers a moratorium on new surface and groundwater uses, including most new wells. However, moratoriums on new wells do not directly apply to wells pumping less than 50 gallons per minute, so private drinking water wells are not likely to be impacted.
Q: We have an old well on our property. I've heard there is a program available to help pay to have it sealed. How can I find out about the program?
A: Most Natural Resources Districts have attractive cost-share incentives to assist owners with the cost of well decommissioning. Contact your local NRD for information about the program in your area.
Q: What are the requirements for having our drinking water well inspected before selling our property?
A: Nebraska state law does not require inspection of private drinking water wells prior to property transfer. However, a county or local jurisdiction might have such requirements. Usually, an inspection at the time of property transfer is requested by the lending agency funding the purchase or by the prospective buyers.
Q: We have a hand-dug well that is about 3 ft in diameter and 35 feet deep on our property. Is it safe to use this well?
A: Shallow, open, dug wells are extremely prone to contamination from surface water runoff that flows into the well, small animals that fall in and drown, and numerous other sources. These wells are also a safety hazard especially to small children and pets. It is recommended that you have the well properly decommissioned and sealed.