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Critical review of twelve (12) myths and misconceptions about MTBE reveals they were conceived to rationalize early field observations and/or incomplete data sets. Closer scrutiny, in light of recent laboratory investigations, field data, case studies and world literature, indicates the myths are unsubstantiated misconceptions and assumptions about the behavior of ether oxygenates in the environment. Commonly held myths focus on four general areas of fuel and fuel oxygenates management: storage/dispensing, hydrology, remediation, and health effects. Storage/dispensing misconceptions address materials stability to ethers in fuel and the environmental forensics of fuel systems failure. Groundwater and hydrology myths deal with plume dynamics and the impact of fuel on drinking water resources. Remediation myths focus on the performance of traditional hydrocarbon remediation technologies, recent developments in biodegradation and natural attenuation, drivers of remedial design and remediation costs. Health effects myths address both acute and chronic exposure risk evaluations by national and international health agencies. MTBE is manageable by the same processes and precautions used for gasoline and other fuel hydrocarbons.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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