Water Quality

Annual Drinking Water Quality Report  PDF

Lincoln receives its water from a self-replenishing source naturally high in quality. Our water comes from wells where the ground water is under the direct influence of surface water. Thanks to the natural filtration of the aquifer, nature has already done much of the work in enhancing the quality of Lincoln's water. Our water still contains iron and manganese, which pose no health concern but can stain clothing and plumbing fixtures. To remove these unwanted elements, water is pumped to the water treatment plants. The water flows through one of two processes before it is sent to your home or business.


Ozone Generator An ozone generator produces ozone for use in the treatment process.
  1. The oldest process, highly effective since the 1930s, uses aeration, chlorination, detention and filtration. An exact amount of chlorine is added to the water in a large underground reservoir. The water is held in the reservoir for up to two hours. The iron and manganese form particles which are then trapped in the sand and gravel filters. The filters are cleaned every 120 hours using a process called backwashing.
  2. The second process uses ozone technology. Ozone, an extremely strong oxidizer and disinfectant, reacts quickly with iron and manganese to form particles which are then removed in the filtration process.

The next step is vital to protecting the health of our community. Once the water passes through the filters, small but exact amounts of chlorine and ammonia are added. These chemicals combine to form a disinfectant called "chloramine," which prevents the growth of bacteria in the City's water pipes. Finally, fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay.


Lab Samples are collected and tested daily in the lab to ensure quality As the regulations require, we routinely test your water for numerous contaminants. These include total coliforms, turbidity, inorganic contaminants, nitrate, nitrite, lead and copper, volatile organic contaminants, total trihalomethanes and synthetic organic contaminants. The contaminants found in Lincoln's water are shown in an annual Drinking Water Quality Report PDF that is available to LWS customers. The State allows us to test for some contaminants less often than once per year when the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. Therefore, some of this data may be more than one year old.

The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained from EPA's Web site at epa.gov, by calling the EPA hotline at 800-426-4791 or by calling the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department at 402-441-8000.


As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animal or human activities. Contaminants that may be present in source water include microbial contaminants, organic or inorganic contaminants, pesticides, herbicides and radioactive contaminants. To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health. Although contaminants such as atrazine, total trihalomethanes and arsenic are sometimes detected during testing, their concentrations are below the levels required by EPA.

Please see the Drinking Water Quality Report PDF for details about the contaminants tested for and the levels detected.

Special Health Requirements

While the presence of chloramines in our water is not a cause for concern among the general public, home dialysis patients, immuno-compromised individuals and aquarium owners must take special precautions before the water can be used.

Water used for kidney dialysis equipment may require further treatment. Please contact your doctor or dialysis technician to ensure that your home equipment is adequate and proper tests are being made every time it is used.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. This includes immuno-compromised persons such as those with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, those who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune systems disorders, some elderly people and infants. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

Related Water Quality Links