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Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in public and private wells in New Hampshire: Occurrence, factors, and possible implications

January 1, 2008

Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) concentrations ???0.2 ??g/L were found in samples of untreated water in 18% of public-supply wells (n = 284) and 9.1% of private domestic wells (n = 264) sampled in 2005 and 2006 in New Hampshire. In counties that used reformulated gasoline (RFG), MTBE occurred at or above 0.2 ??g/L in 30% of public- and 17% of private-supply wells. Additionally, 52% of public-supply wells collocated with fuel storage and 71% of mobile home park wells had MTBE. MTBE occurrence in public-supply wells was predicted by factors such as proximity to sources of fuel, land use, and population density, as well as low pH and distance from mapped lineaments. RFG use, land-use variables, and pH were important predictors of private-well MTBE occurrence. Variables representing sources of MTBE, such as the distance to known fuel sources, were not significant predictors of MTBE occurrence in private-supply wells. It is hypothesized that private wells may become contaminated from the collective effects of sources in high population areas and from undocumented incidental releases from onsite or proximal gasoline use. From 2003 to 2005, MTBE occurrence decreased in 63 public-supply wells and increased in 60 private-supply wells, but neither trend was statistically significant. ?? 2008 American Chemical Society.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2008
Title Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in public and private wells in New Hampshire: Occurrence, factors, and possible implications
DOI 10.1021/es071519z
Authors J. D. Ayotte, D.M. Argue, F.J. McGarry, J.R. Degnan, L. Hayes, S. M. Flanagan, D.R. Helsel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Series Number
Index ID 70033676
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization