Sen. Bob Krist says Ricketts Administration slow to​ ​comply with 2015 Nebraska Safe Drinking Water Act

“Taking two years to implement important water safety regulations​ ​is no way to run government”

LINCOLN, NE – Sen. Bob Krist, candidate for Nebraska Governor, said today that the Ricketts administration has been slow to enact regulations relating to the testing of drinking water in Nebraska.

Introduced in 2015 by Sen. Krist and passed unanimously by the Nebraska Legislature in February 2016, LB19 changed procedures for the Director of Public Health to certify and enter into agreements with private laboratories to test water for human consumption.

“Prior to the passage of LB19, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services had a monopoly on dozens of required tests of public drinking water in Nebraska and refused to enter into agreements with private laboratories to relieve the workload,” Krist said.

“LB19 requires the director to enter into agreements with private labs allowing them to compete in the marketplace,” Krist said.

However according to Krist, the Ricketts administration took nearly two years to implement the new regulations. With urging from Nebraska laboratories, the regulations finally went into effect on November 14.

“The governor often c ites his business background as an example of how government should run efficiently. This is a fundamental public health issue to ensure that the water that we drink is safe. Taking two years to implement important water safety regulations is no way to run government,” Krist said.

Brent Pohlman, President of Midwest Laboratories, said the new law will help cities across Nebraska provide assurances to citizens of safe drinking water.

“This new law is a win for Nebraska municipalities because it gives them closer access to private laboratories which are located throughout the state to help insure the quality and safety of public drinking water,” Pohlman said.

“It is a win for private laboratories because it gives us the opportunity to grow our lab businesses in the area of environmental and microbiology analysis,” Pohlman said.

Once they are certified by the State, private Nebraska laboratories are now able to test water that is intended for human consumption, including the tests required for compliance and monitoring purposes.

Krist said private laboratories in Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, McCook, Omaha and Scottsbluff have the technology and knowledge to perform the dozens of tests required for municipal drinking water.

“It’s a good example of private industry being allowed take up some of the slack,” Krist said.


November 30, 2017

Contact: Dan Parsons, (402) 580-2321