Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, also know as MTBE, is in a group of gas additives called "oxygenates" because they increase the oxygen level in gasoline.The use of oxygenates has increased significantly since Clean Air Act was signed in 1990.The two-part act mandated the use of cleaner burning gasoline in metropolitan areas throughout the United States as stated by Nichols et al.The most significant part of this act was the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program that took affect in 1995, calling for reformulated gasoline in cities with the worst ground-level ozone (smog). RFG is oxygenated gasoline (minimum of 2 percent oxygen by weight) that is specially blended to have fewer polluting compounds than conventional gasoline (EPA 2000).Not only did the cities and areas that fit the requirements of this act start to use RFG, so did many other states.This, in turn, increased the use of oxygenates, especially MTBE.MTBE was chosen over other oxygenates because of many economic reasons.MTBE has very favorable blending characteristics making it easy to produce, it has a low volatility that make it easier to meet emission standards, and it can be shipped through existing pipelines.
With the increase of oxygenates, concerns have been raised about its role in contamination of soil and ground water supplies.Many studies have been finding MTBE in ground water nationwide.MTBE is released into the soil primarily from petroleum leaking from underground storage tanks. Other sources include leaking from above ground tanks, fuel pipelines, refueling stations, and accidental spills (CRS 2000).Since these studies have come out the EPA has begun a process to decrease the use of MTBE and finding alternatives to MTBE such as other more manageable oxygenates like ethanol.But that does not get MTBE out of the nation's water supply.
MTBE removal from water and soil can be done but it is very time consuming and difficult….

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