Fluoride in Nebraska's ground water

David C. Gosselin, Jacqueline Headrick, F. Edwin Harvey, Rod Tremblay, Kimberly McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Fluoride concentrations in ground water are generally low but play an important role in dental health. This study evaluates the vertical and spatial distribution of fluoride in Nebraska's ground water and examines the geological and geochemical processes that control its concentration. Data from 1794 domestic wells sampled by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Regulation, and Licensure (NDOH) had a range of fluoride concentrations from <0.1 to 2.6 mg/L and a median concentration of 0.3 mg/L. The median fluoride concentrations for Nebraska's 13 ground water regions varied from 0.2 to 0.7 mg/L. In each of these regions, individual wells may have either insufficient or overabundant F concentrations; we recommend that individual private water systems be tested for fluoride. Based on these data, system-specific recommendations can be made regarding the necessity for fluoridation. Geochemical data indicated that the majority of fluoride occurs as F-. Dissolution of F-bearing minerals controls fluoride occurrence. Apatite plus minor amounts of fluorite along with significant ground water residence times are the primary factors controlling F in the water from the Dakota Formation in Knox County, as well as in other parts of northeastern Nebraska. In western and southwestern Nebraska, dissolution of volcanic glass is the most probable source of F. Long residence times plus fluorite also may contribute to the F concentrations in the Chadron Formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalGround Water Monitoring and Remediation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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