Ethanol, MTBE polluting Lake Tahoe

Plagued by leaks of both ethanol and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) from gasoline service stations that are polluting groundwater sources, the Lake Tahoe, Calif., resort area is headed into another summer of water use restrictions.Earlier this year, California officials ordered that ethanol replace MTBE in all reformulated gasoline sold around Lake Tahoe. Traces of MTBE were found in tests of groundwater sources in that area in September 1998, forcing the South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) to shut in 12 of its 34 wells, or 27% of the water supply for area residents.Now ethanol also is showing up in water tests, in concentrations as high as 130,000 ppb. That quickly prompted a...

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