Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
The primary role of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) is to help ensure that our state's natural resources are protected from contamination. Nebraskans can take pride in the high quality of Nebraska's air, land and water.
Under the direction of Mike Linder, the 215 employees of NDEQ work with businesses, communities and individuals toward the common goal of protecting the environment. NDEQ's permitting; compliance, remediation, monitoring, and assistance programs are designed to help achieve this goal.
NDEQ's permitting programs establish specific limits on the types of pollutants that can be emitted into the air or discharged into water. Emission limits in air quality permits help ensure that Nebraska's outdoor air complies with all health standards. The agency also enforces rules to ensure wastewater is being properly treated, and that a variety of types of wastes are being managed, treated and disposed of properly. These activities are designed to help protect our streams and lakes as well as the state's groundwater.
If contamination occurs, NDEQ's remediation programs make sure that proper investigation and cleanup procedures are followed so that contamination is removed and public health and the environment are protected.
The monitoring programs measure the quality of Nebraska's rivers, lakes, groundwater and outdoor air across the state. This information helps to establish whether there are areas within the state that have particular environmental challenges.
In addition to making sure environmental laws are followed, NDEQ also provides technical and financial assistance to communities, businesses and individuals. Financial assistance is provided to recycling and waste reduction efforts, lake restoration and other water quality projects, and projects to update or replace wastewater treatment facilities.
All of us can be a part of these efforts to protect Nebraska's natural resources. At the local level, we can become involved in recycling and waste reduction efforts. We can look for more efficient ways to use energy - in fact, making new cans with recycled aluminum uses up to 95% less energy. Likewise, recycling paper helps protect our environment. Each ton of paper recycled prevents 60 pounds of air pollution, and saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
Pitch in on litter cleanup efforts in your community. Become involved in local improvement projects, such as community lake restoration projects and park improvement efforts. For more information about NDEQ, visit their web site at www.deq.state.ne.us.