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On June 1, 1999, carbureted two-stroke engines were banned on waters within the Lake Tahoe Basin of California and Nevada. The main gasoline components MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) were present at detectable concentrations in all samples taken from Lake Tahoe during 1997-98 prior to the ban. Samples taken from 1999 through 2001 after the ban contained between 10 and 60 percent of the pre-ban concentrations of these compounds, with MTBE exhibiting the most dramatic change (a 90 percent decrease). MTBE and BTEX concentrations in water samples from Lake Tahoe and Lower Echo Lake were related to the amount of boat use at the sampling sites. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds are produced by high-temperature pyrolytic reactions. They were sampled using semipermeable membrane sampling devices in Lake Tahoe and nearby Donner Lake, where carbureted two-stroke engines are legal. PAHs were detected in all samples taken from Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. The number of PAH compounds and their concentrations are related to boat use. The highest concentrations of PAH were detected in samples from two heavily used boating areas, Tahoe Keys Marina and Donner Lake boat ramp. Other sources of PAH, such as atmospheric deposition, wood smoke, tributary streams, and automobile exhaust do not contribute large amounts of PAH to Lake Tahoe. Similar numbers of PAH compounds and concentrations were found in Lake Tahoe before and after the ban of carbureted two-stroke engines. ?? by the North American Lake Management Society 2004.
Additional Publication Details
Gasoline-related organics in Lake Tahoe before and after prohibition of carbureted two-stroke engines