What's in your water?
This professional project was conceived, reported, written and edited by Jessica Fargen Walsh in 2019 when she she was a graduate assistant pursuing a master's degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jessica took all the photos and videos using her iPhone. She graduated in December 2019 and is now an assistant journalism professor at UNL.
The site was published in December 2019 and updated in April 2020.
Jessica interviewed at least 60 people including farmers, townspeople, village water operators, mayors, business owners, researchers, natural resource managers and a mother of a child who had cancer. She drove more than 1,600 miles from March to November. She drove from Creighton in northeast Nebraska to Steele City, just north of the Kansas border and west to Hastings. She visited more than a dozen towns and cities. The largest was Hastings with 25,000 people; the smallest was Ong, with 63.
She wanted to tell the story of the impact of nitrate contamination from all points of view in the hopes of creating awareness. It's a problem that people are trying to fix, but is not really getting better.
She wanted more people to ask themselves: What's in my water?
For more information on groundwater and drinking water in Nebraska, visit these sites: