Nebraska extends private well reverse osmosis rebate program

May 10, 2023
A program providing reverse osmosis treatment rebates has been extended, helping owners of private wells with high nitrate levels treat their water.

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) has extended its Private Well Reverse Osmosis Rebate Program.

Private well reverse osmosis system rebates are available to property owners of private wells with drinking water test levels above 10 parts per million (ppm) of nitrate. Applicants will be eligible for up to $4,000 in rebates per small treatment installation that is effective in the removal of nitrate to a level below 10 ppm. Testing costs, purchase price of the system, and installation costs are eligible expenses that can be included in a rebate application.

The initial application period opened Jan. 1, 2023 and closed March 31, 2023. Upon reaching the initial close date of March 31, 2023, NDEE received 92 applications requesting $211,071 of the $1.2 million allocated to the program, so funding remains available.

NDEE says that applications will now be accepted and reviewed for consideration on a month-to-month basis. Submitted applications will be given equal consideration as long as funding for the program remains available in the month in which the application is submitted. Participation in the rebate program still requires pre-approval from NDEE.

The installation of any reverse osmosis small water treatment system cannot begin until a rebate agreement is signed between the private well owner and NDEE.

The rebate program is being funded through $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which is part of a larger $4 million ARPA initiative administered by NDEE as authorized by the 2022 Legislature.

Applicants will need to ensure that their private well is registered with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. A water well registration document can be downloaded from the Department of Natural Resources website.

Applicants will be required to submit water quality data from the State laboratory with testing results dated no earlier than Jan. 1, 2022. Testing is available to any private citizen in the state.

Applications from property owners will also be required to contain a cost estimate for the installation of a reverse osmosis treatment device certified by the American National Standards Institute. That cost estimate must come from a licensed plumber or an entity that has performed at least five successful private well reverse osmosis small water treatment installations.

NDEE will disperse approved rebates following successful installation and demonstration of effective removal of nitrate to a level below 10 ppm. Follow-up testing will need to be submitted to the department to demonstrate successful removal of nitrate to a level below 10 ppm. Installations and follow-up testing need to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024.

NDEE says that all requirements for the Reverse Osmosis Rebate Program, including the application forms and an instructional video, can be found on NDEE’s website at http://dee.ne.gov/Publica.nsf/pages/22-051. Inquiries can also be made to NDEE State Revolving Fund Section Supervisor Steve McNulty at [email protected] or 402-471-4200.