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South Dakota Water Science Center

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There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State. Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.
James F. Pankow, Ronald E. Rathbun, and John S. Zogorski

Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Oregon Graduate Institute
P.O. Box 91000, Portland, Oreg. 97291-1000, USA
Phone (503) 690-1080, Telecopier (503) 690-1273, pankow@ese.ogi.edu


Large amounts of the "fuel-oxygenate" compound methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE) are currently being used in gasoline to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone in urban air and to boost fuel octane. Because MTBE can be transported to surface waters in various ways, established theory was used to calculate half-lives for MTBE volatilizing from flowing surface waters. Similar calculations were made for benzene as a representative of the "BTEX" group of compounds (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and the xylenes), and for tert-butyl alcohol (TBA). The calculations were made as a function of the mean flow velocity u (m/day), the mean flow depth h (m), the ambient temperature, and the wind speed. In deep, slow-moving flows, MTBE volatilizes at rates which are similar to those for the BTEX compounds. In shallow, fast-moving flows, MTBE volatilizes more slowly than benzene, though in such flows both MTBE and benzene volatilize quickly enough that these differences may often not have much practical significance. TBA was found to be essentially nonvolatile from water.

Published:

1996, Chemosphere, v. 33, no. 5, p. 921-937.

Presented:

1995, Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Organic Chemicals in Ground Water: Prevention, Detection, and Remediation, Houston, Texas.

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