Loading... Please wait...

Blog

Where Did the MTBE Come From?

Posted by

This morning we received an email from 'Mandy' asking, " We had our water tested recently and the results said we have MTBE in our water.  We have well water and do not know where it came from.  Where DID it come from?"

Thank you, Mandy, for that very important question.  For those unfamiliar with MTBE, the acronmy stands for methyl tertiary-butyl ether, colorless but flammable and volatile liquid that dissolves relatively easy into water.  For a good number of years the fuel industry added MTBE to gasoline because it helped to reduce emissions from automobile tailpipes.

As for how it winds up in surface water and drinking or well water, that's easy:  Leakage and spillage.  Each time a person or automated process spilled a drop (or sometimes more) of gasoline while filling their car, motorcycle, lawnmower, etc., that spilled liquid eventually got washed away into the environment.  Multiply each one of those events by the number of times very common fuel filling events took place over the years and that adds up to a LOT of fuel spills and in turn a LOT of opportunities for MTBE to enter the environment.

Even the most careful fuel transfer processes may still result in accidental or incidental spillage.

Then you must also consider the number of underground and above ground fuel storage tanks and fuel pipelines that developed slow leaks or failed outright as they aged and the number of opportunities for MTBE to enter the environment goes up even more.

Testing for MTBE

No simple, at-home water test kit for MTBE exists but homeowners can use the mail-in water testing services of companies like  National Testing Laboratories to determine if MTBE and/or other potential drinking water contaminants has or have infiltrated their water supply.

 

National Testing Labs 100+ Parameter Test Kit
Well Check Deluxe
City-Check Standard
City-Check Standard
City-Check Deluxe
City-Check Deluxe

 

If you're looking for a simple way to drastically reduce the amount of MTBE in your water supply, units such as the  Propur PMC-4000 Under Counter Water Filter work well and usually do not take a lot of expertise to install.

Does a Rotten Egg Smell Make Water Unsafe to Drink?

The other day we heard from 'Thelma D' who asked, " Does a rotten egg smell in our water make it unsafe to drink?" As a general rule, when water sample has a rotten egg smell to it the odor comes from dissolved  hydrogen sulfide gas... which aside from the fact it stinks quite badly, poses no real [...]

Read More »


Water Metals Testing Bundle

Earlier this morning we heard from 'Ammani' who wrote, "Hello.  We live near a landfill used quite a long time ago by companies that now most have settled cases out of court for illegal dumping of chemicals and waste that supposedly contained metals.  Your heavy metals check reads total metals, correct?  But it does not [...]

Read More »


Does Rainwater Runoff Affect Groundwater?

We recently received an inquiry from a grade school student who asked if rainwater affects groundwater. Rainwater hits the ground and then passes across all sorts of different surfaces and carries with it any and all sorts of contaminants that it encounters. The list of contaminants may include byproducts from industry like chemicals and heavy metals as [...]

Read More »


Save 12% Because the Owner Turned 46

Many, many, MANY years ago the founder of our organization arrived on this planet.  In honor of that momentous occasion, we, the underlings of the Water Test Kit Store, gladly offer...12% off everything in the storeand FREE standard shipping in the United Stateswith discount code MIKE46 at checkoutHe's probably going to fire us all for doing [...]

Read More »


pH of Pool Water Difficult to Control

Earlier this week we received a message from 'Vince' asking, "Why does our pH go up and down so much all the time?  Then when we add pH Down it goes through the floor, when we add pH Up it goes through the roof and when we add chlorine it goes through the floor all [...]

Read More »


Why Do I Need to Use Hydrogen Peroxide in My Hot Tub?

Earlier today we heard from 'Vick' who asked, "We just got a hot tub and the salesman said to use a biguanide system that also uses hydrogen peroxide.  Why do we need to use two chemicals?  Why doesn't the biguanide stuff do the job all on its own?  So we HAVE to use the peroxide [...]

Read More »


Are Municipal/City Water Sources Immune to Pesticide Contamination?

This morning 'Traycee' asked, " If our water comes from a city water system we don't have to worry about pesticide contamination, right?" Thank you for the inquiry, Traycee.  As a general rule city and municipal water supplies SHOULD not have pesticides as contaminants, but before you can fully rule that possibility out, please remember the following: Public [...]

Read More »


Testing for MTBE

Recently we heard from someone in Arizona who asked, "do you test water from out of state,Arizona? Wanted to make sure kit tests for MTBE? We are on city water in Arizona, just want to make sure....thank you. Please email back." Although we do not personally perform any testing, several of the mail-in test kits we [...]

Read More »


Does the WaterSafe City or Well Water Test Kit Detect MTBE?

Earlier today we received an inquiry from 'FloydG' who asked, " I was looking at the WaterSafe city and well test kits and need to know if one of them or both of them can test for MTBE.  Thanks." MTBE gets categorized as a volatile organic compound (VOC) and as such cannot get detected by do-it-yourself home [...]

Read More »