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Carbon adsorption and air-stripping removal of MTBE from river water

Publication Type:

Journal Article


JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING-ASCE, Volume 128, Issue 9, p.813-823 (2002)


Through 1998, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) was the most commonly used fuel oxygenate in Reno, Nevada. Winter-use of oxygenated gasolines is required in areas of the country that exceed carbon monoxide air quality standards. MTBE has not been detected in Reno's raw water sources, but treatment alternatives must be assessed to fully prepare for possible contamination events. In this research, bench-scale studies using activated carbon and air stripping were conducted to evaluate the treatability of a high concentration of MTBE in Truckee River water, which is the primary surface supply for the Reno area. Results indicated that neither method appears practical for treating MTBE-laden water for one day at a 1.14X10(8) L/day (30 MGD) treatment plant. The capital costs estimated for full-scale application of these processes are approximately $5 million each. Estimated treatment costs for activated carbon and air stripping are approximately $0.043/L ($0.161/gal) and $0.047/L ($0.177/gal), respectively. Temporary closure of treatment facilities may be the best response to an accidental spill.