Jeppe Kjaersgaard, South Dakota State University

Photo of Jeppe Kjaersgaard

Jeppe “Yebbe” Kjaersgaard currently serves as the chair of the Drinking Water and Human Health Community of Practice. He is an assistant professor at the South Dakota Water Resources Institute at South Dakota State University. His interests include water protection, water analysis report interpretation, developing new technologies for on-farm water management to sustain profitability while addressing environmental concerns, and monitoring of water quality using remote sensing and ground-based equipment. He serves as a co-coordinator of the annual Big

To Frack or Not to Frack is Difficult to Decide

The impoundment berm bordering a Marcellus Shale gas play drilling pad in western Pennsylvania

Matt Damon and the 2012 film “The Promised Land” was a story about it. The Rolling Stones song “Doom and Gloom” is a song about it. And voters in Colorado and Ohio have weighed in on it. Lot of attention but nobody has the answer to the question to frack or not to frack?

“It’s a very complex subject,” said Sharon Anderson, environmental program leader for Cornell University Cooperative Extension. “The answer depends on a person’s role. For example, if …

Will coliform bacteria in drinking water make us sick?

Coliforms are not one kind of bacteria, but many, and they can make you sick if ingested from drinking water. But most coliforms are harmless residents of soil and will not make people sick. Some strains of E. coli, the most common fecal coliform bacterium (usually living in animal fecal material) may cause disease. Some E. coli strains found in food have been lethal. Their presence should be taken very seriously.
Your immune system also determines whether on not …

What are nuisance organisms in drinking water?

Nuisance organisms in drinking water are those that are not pathogenic (disease causing) but cause other types of problems related to aesthetics (color, taste, odor) and corrosion or plugging of pumps, wells and distribution systems. Two common nuisance organisms in ground water are iron bacteria and sulfur bacteria. Two common nuisance organisms in surface water are algae and zebra mussels.…

In towns and cities, what is the major cause of pollution of drinking water sources?

The major source of pollution in drinking water sources is rainwater that flows into street catch basins (called urban runoff or stormwater runoff). While this rainwater alone is not necessarily harmful, it frequently carries untreated waste products from our streets and yards directly into rivers, streams, and lakes — our drinking water sources.
Other potential sources of drinking water pollution are products that are flushed through the sewer system, not removed by waste treatment, and then passed back into our …

What is the water flow rate to most fixtures in my house?

A toilet will normally use about 2-3 gallons per minute (gpm), a shower from 1.5 to 3.0 gpm, a bathroom or kitchen faucet from 2-3 gpm, a dishwasher from 2-4 gpm, and a washing machine from 3-5 gpm. When you start running more than one fixture (sink/dishwasher/toilet/etc.) at a time, the gallons per minute add up quickly. If you have a water softener or a special water treatment unit that restricts flow, you may see a pressure drop when several …

How does a well actually work to supply drinking water?

If you look beneath the surface of the landscape, you will find a complex mixture of rock, gravel, sand or finer-grained material that makes up areas where water can be stored in pore spaces. Gravity causes rainwater or melted snow to move down into the empty spaces in between the soil or cracks in the rock. Eventually the water reaches the saturated zone. In the saturated zone all the void spaces are completely filled with water; the water in the …

Arsenic in Your Drinking Water?

Boy drinking water
Wherever you live, if you drink from a private well, get your water tested

Arsenic: colorless, tasteless, odorless, ubiquitous in nature, a favored homicidal agent since the first century. A naturally occurring element, arsenic exists in rocks and soils throughout the world.

In arsenic “hot spots,” natural processes can cause the toxic element to migrate into the water people tap for household wells. Exposure to arsenic through drinking water is linked to reduced immune function, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, …

Drinking Water Well Quality Basics

Groundwater, the source of water for private wells, is never simply a pure combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms (H20). It contains many impurities, reflecting the composition of the soils, sand, gravel, and rock through which it travels. Groundwater naturally contains:

  1. Dissolved minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, chloride, and sulfate
  2. Gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen
  3. Dissolved organic compounds

As a result of human activity, groundwater can also contain contaminants such as pesticides, nitrate, metals, …