The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) and the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), has completed a survey of the frequency of detection, concentration, and distribution of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), other ether gasoline oxygenates, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in source water used by community water systems (CWSs) in the United States. This national survey, initiated in 1998, was sponsored by the Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF), and was completed in 2002. The Awwa Research Foundation is a member-supported, international, nonprofit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies, and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to consumers.
The survey consisted of two independent stages designed to provide representative sampling of all CWSs in the United States (Random Source-Water Survey) and to improve understanding of the temporal variability of MTBE and other compounds in selected water sources (Focused Source-Water Survey). The Random Source-Water Survey has provided representative information on the frequency of detection, concentration, and distribution of MTBE, ether gasoline oxygenates, and other VOCs in 954 untreated, ground- and surface-water sources of drinking water used by CWSs in the United States. The Focused Source-Water Survey has provided an improved understanding of the frequency of detection, concentration, and temporal variability of MTBE, other ether gasoline oxygenates, their degradation products, and other VOCs in 134 sources of untreated water with suspected or known MTBE contamination. The focused design considered, in part, factors that appear to be related to frequent detection of MTBE and other gasoline-related VOCs, in the selection of CWSs for sampling. Samples were collected to better characterize the variability in the detection and concentrations of a wide range of VOCs and oxygenate byproducts.
For additional information about this survey please contact:
Bart Koch (Principal investigator)
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
700 Moreno Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750-3399
U.S. Geological Survey
1608 Mt. View Road
Rapid City, SD 57702
Summary of the National Survey
Carter, J.M., Grady, S.J., Delzer, G.C., Koch, Bart, and Zogorski, J.S., 2006, Occurrence of MTBE and other gasoline oxygenates in CWS source waters: Journal AWWA, v. 98, no. 4, p. 91-104.
Clawges, Rick, Rowe, Barbara, and Zogorski, John, 2001, National survey of MTBE and other VOCs in community drinking-water sources: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-064-01, 4 p.
Delzer, G.C., and Tamara Ivahnenko, 2003, Occurrence and temporal variability of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and other volatile organic compounds in select sources of drinking water: Results of the focused survey: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report WRIR 02-4084, 65 p.
Delzer, G.C., and Tamara Ivahnenko, 2003, A review of literature for methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in sources of drinking water in the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OFR 01-322, 16 p.
Grady, S.J., 2003, National survey of methyl tert-butyl ether and other volatile organic compounds in drinking-water sources: Results of the random survey: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report WRIR 02-4079, 85 p.
Ivahnenko, Tamara, Grady, S.J., and Delzer, G.C., 2001, Design of a national survey of methyl tert-butyl ether and other volatile organic compounds in drinking-water sources: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OFR 01-271, 42 p.
Koch, Bart, Dale, Melissa, Zogorski, John, Delzer, Gregory, Grady, Stephen, Ivahnenko, Tamara, Clawges, Rick, and Tratnyek, Paul, 2003, Occurrence of MTBE and VOCs in drinking-water sources of the United States: Denver, Colorado, American Water Works Association Research Foundation Report #90954F, 189 p. and CD-ROM.
Rowe, Barbara, Grady, Stephen, Zogorski, John, Koch, Bart, and Tratnyek, Paul, 2001, Initial findings: national survey of MTBE, other ether oxygenates, and other VOCs in community drinking-water sources: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, OFR 01-399 1 p. poster.
Download self-extracting zip file data set and documentation (29 kb) for the Random Survey.
Download Focused Survey site data setand documentation (6 kb) and self-extracting zip file water quality data set and documentation (14 kb).
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