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Tri-Basin NRD's Chemigation Program

Nolan Little conducting a chemigation inspectionWhat is chemigation? Many irrigators use their irrigation systems to apply agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. This practice, called chemigation, can be an effective application method, provided that the chemical is suited for this practice and the irrigation system is properly engineered.

To protect Nebraska's groundwater from possible contamination, the Legislature enacted LB284, the Chemigation Act, in the mid-1980s. The Act requires the owner of a chemigation system to obtain a permit prior to chemigating. An irrigation system must be fitted with safety equipment to prevent back flow of chemicals into the well to qualify for a permit.

All chemigation systems must be inspected and approved by Tri-Basin NRD staff before an initial permit is issued. The permit holder is primarily liable for any damage resulting from chemigation. By state law, a chemigation permit MUST be obtained before any person can legally chemigate. Current permits expire June 1 of each year.

New Permits: New chemigation permits cost $50.00 per injection site. Permits are approved at any time during the calendar year and expire on June 1 of the following year. All new permits must be inspected before they can be approved and the system used.

Renewal Permits: Renewals cost $15.00 per injection site. Renewal applications must be received by June 1. Periodic inspections of current chemigation systems are conducted by Tri-Basin NRD staff on a three-year rotation.

Emergency Permits: An emergency permit must be obtained if a system is used without a valid permit. These cost $250.00 per injection site.

For more information about Tri-Basin NRD's Chemigation Program, email Nolan Little, Water Resources Technician, at nlittle@tribasinnrd.org.