Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-14-2023


Neuhaus, E. (2023, March 14) The concentration of heavy metals in Lincoln Nebraska's tap water (Morin, S., Ed.). Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska Lincoln.


Written with oversight from faculty mentor Dr. Stephen Morin.

Copyright Evan Neuhaus 2023.


Heavy metals are commonplace in nature, and are typically found in scarce quantities in all drinking sources. However, in high enough concentrations, they can have a myriad of negative health effects. This study seeks to find the concentrations of such metals in the Lincoln water supply utilizing the resources of the Water Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. To test for discrete concentrations of trace elements, a method of using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) was implemented. ICP-MS uses plasma to ionize and atomize a sample which is then filtered into a series of cones into a mass spectrometer where the mass-to-charge ratio of the induced ions can be measured. This method was used to measure concentrations of lead, copper and zinc, and it was concluded that the concentrations of those three metals fall well within the standards set by the relevant government institutions.