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News Release

March 21, 2000
Butch Kinerney 703-648-4732

Media Advisory: USGS Information Available on Recent MTBE Risk Findings

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As many as 9,000 community water wells in 31 states may be at risk for contamination

What: A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oregon Graduate Institute shows that as many as 9,000 community water wells in 31 states may be affected by contamination from the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) due to their proximity to leaking underground storage tanks. Added to gasoline in large amounts to reduce air pollution, MTBE has turned up in groundwater throughout the nation. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would begin phasing out the use of MTBE in gasoline. But even if MTBE is banned today, because it is persistent in the environment, it will be with us for at least a decade, says the study’s authors.

Where can I find more information? The study, frequently asked questions, a list of states included in the study and and state-specific information are all available online at:

The USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program

Who can I call for details or a quote?
Call USGS scientist and study co-author John Zogorski (605) 355-4560, ext. 214

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