ANALYSIS OF MTBE IN WATER SOURCES
Report No FR0287

K Moore, S Shurvell and D Williams

March 1992

SUMMARY

I OBJECTIVES

To develop and test the performance of an analytical method for MTBE (methyl-tert-butyl ether) in ground and surface waters.

II REASONS

MTBE may be present at 0.1-15 % in UK petrol. Since petrol is stored in large quantities and MTBE is relatively soluble and stable in water, there is a potential for contamination of drinking water sources. There are a number of reported cases of MTBE contamination in the USA and one known incident of contamination in the UK. However, the extent of any MTBE contamination is unknown because it is not routinely monitored. An analytical method for MTBE in raw water is therefore needed to be able to carry out a survey of drinking water sources.

III CONCLUSIONS

An analytical method for MTBE has been developed and its performance tested. The performance of the analytical method has been shown to be satisfactory for the purpose of carrying out a survey of the extent of MTBE contamination of drinking water sources. However, the performance of the analytical method could be improved and suggestions for improvement are included in this report.

IV RECOMMENDATIONS

The analytical method presented in this report should be used to carry out a survey of drinking water sources to determine the extent of any contamination with MTBE.

V RESUME OF CONTENTS

A summary of the use of MTBE, its properties and the known instances of contaminated water sources is presented. An analytical method for MTBE in water has been developed and its performance tested for both untreated ground and surface water. The analytical method and its performance characteristics are presented in an appendix in Standing Committee of Analysts method format.

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