Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is added to gasoline either seasonally or year round in many parts of the United States to increase the octane level and to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone levels in the air. The chemical properties and widespread use of MTBE can result in contamination of private and public drinking-water sources. MTBE contamination is a concern in drinking water because of the compound's low taste and odor threshold and potential human-health effects.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
National survey of MTBE and other VOCs in community drinking-water sources