EPA Science Inventory

FIELD OBSERVATIONS TO RECOGNIZE THE NATURAL BIODEGRADATION OF MTBE

Citation:

WILSON, J. T. FIELD OBSERVATIONS TO RECOGNIZE THE NATURAL BIODEGRADATION OF MTBE. In Proceedings, The 17th UST/LUST National Conference, Seattle, WA, March 14 - 16, 2005.

Description:

At some gasoline spill sites (perhaps a third of sites nationwide) MTBE in ground water has been biologically degraded to TBA. This natural biodegradation of MTBE contributes to the natural attenuation of MTBE, but it produces TBA as a potential contaminant. Under ordinary conditions, an accumulation of TBA would be evidence of MTBE biodegradation. Because TBA can be a component of the gasoline that was spilled, there is a myth that the presence of TBA in ground water can not be used to recognize biodegradation of MTBE. One generally accepted direct proof of MTBE biodegradation is a change in the ratio of the stable isotopes of carbon in the residual MTBE. John Wilson will present data from field sites where the stable isotopes of carbon in MTBE proved that there was or was not extensive biodegradation of MTBE. He will compare ratios of MTBE to TBA at these sites to show that the ratio of TBA to MTBE, and particularly a change in the ratio of TBA to MTBE, can be used to recognize natural biodegradation of MTBE.

Purpose/Objective:

Field observations to recognize the natural biodegradation of MTBE.

URLs/Downloads:

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FIELD OBSERVATIONS TO RECOGNIZE THE NATURAL BIODEGRADATION OF MTBE

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PAPER IN NON-EPA PROCEEDINGS)
Start Date: 03/15/2005
Completion Date: 03/15/2005
Record Last Revised: 02/12/2010
Record Created: 04/29/2005
Record Released: 04/29/2005
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 132064

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

GROUND WATER AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION DIVISION

SUBSURFACE REMEDIATION BRANCH