The increasing frequency of detection of the widely used gasoline additive methyl tertbutyl ether (MTBE) in both ground- and surface waters is receiving much attention from the media, environmental scientists, state environmental agencies, and federal agencies. At the national level, the September 15,1999, Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Oxygenates in Gasoline (i) )tates that between 5 and 10% of community drinking water supplies in high MTBE use areas show at least detectable concentrations of MTBE, and about 1% of those systems are characterized by levels of this compound that are above 20 pg/L. In Maine, a desire to determine the extent of MTBE contamination led to a 1998 study (2) that revealed that this compound is found at levels above 0.1 pg/L in 16% of 951 randomly selected household wells and in 16% of the 793 community water systems tested in that state (37 wells were not tested). The study also suggested that between 1400 and 5200 household wells may have levels above 35 pg/L, although no community water supplies were found to be above that concentration. For comparison, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and California have set MTBE remediation "action levels" at or below 20 pg/L, and EPA has set its advisory level for taste and odor at 20-40 pg/L (3).
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||MTBE; to what extent will past releases contaminate community water supply wells?(Brief Article)|
|Series title||Environmental Science & Technology|