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  Treatment of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE)-Contaminated Water With Fenton's Reagent (EPA/600/JA-03/117) November 2003

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) has been commonly used as a fuel additive because of its many favorable properties that allow it to improve fuel combustion and reduce concentrations of carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, increased production and use have led to its introduction into the environment. Of particular concern is its introduction into drinking water supplies. Accordingly, research studies have been initiated to investigate the treatment of MTBE-contaminated soil and water.

In this study, experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of Fenton’s Reagent, hydrogen peroxide:iron (H2O2:Fe+2), to treat MTBE-contaminated ground water. The concentration of MTBE was reduced from an initial concentration of 1,300 milligrams per liter (mg/L) (14.77 m moles) to the regulatory level of 20 mg/L (0.23 F moles) at an H2O2:Fe+2 molar ratio of 1:1, with 10 minutes of contact time and an optimum pH of 5. The by-products (acetone and tertiary-butyl alcohol), always present in MTBE in trace amounts, were not removed even after 60 minutes of reaction time.


Asim Ray

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