Crofton Journal

Northeast Nebraskans will have an opportunity to learn more about the issues surrounding nitrate in groundwater throughout the state at an upcoming public forum.

“Nitrate in Nebraska’s Water Supply – What’s the Risk?” is the focus of a Flatwater Forum set for Tuesday, March 14, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Northeast Community College campus.

The forum comes on the heels of the publication of an investigative series of stories by Yanqi Xu, staff writer for the Flatwater Free Press, titled “Our Dirty Water.” The stories detailed the complex issues surrounding the fact that Nebraska’s nitrate level in groundwater has doubled in the past four decades and is posing an increasing health risk to children.

“The nitrate issue is important and complicated,” said Matt Wynn, executive director of the Flatwater Free Press. “Our hope is that the forum is an opportunity for Norfolk and area residents to learn more and share their thoughts, too.”

The forum will be moderated by Matthew Hansen, editor of Flatwater Free Press. Panelists who have been invited to participate are:

Dr. Jesse Bell, who is the Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Water, Climate and Health Programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health.
Robert Noonan, agriculture instructor at Northeast Community College.
Mike Sousek, general manager of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.
Yanqi Xu, the Flatwater Free Press staff writer who researched and wrote the “Our Dirty Water” series of stories.

The forum will be sponsored by Flatwater Free Press, the Northeast Community College agriculture department and the Norfolk Daily News. Similar forums on the nitrate issue will take place throughout the state in the coming months.

“There are no easy answers here, which is all the more reason to take advantage of an opportunity to become better informed on the nitrate issue. That’s what this forum is designed to do,” Wynn said.