Sunday, July 31, 2005
MBTE Contamination on Long Island
From the Sunday NYT (Long Island Section):
click for larger graphic
If you think that looks bad, check out this excerpt:
"For two decades, a dangerous and fast-moving gasoline additive called M.T.B.E. has been leaking from underground tanks at gas stations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties - including near the Plainview pump - and if left untreated, M.T.B.E. will remain in the aquifer for years, threatening the drinking water.
Hundreds of locations all over the Island have been identified as M.T.B.E. spill sites, and battles over who will clean them up - at a cost that could run into billions of dollars - are being fought in the courts. In even trace amounts, M.T.B.E., or methyl tertiary butyl ether, makes water smell and taste like turpentine, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has reported that laboratory rats developed cancer when exposed to high doses.
M.T.B.E. has also been a factor in deliberations over national energy policy. A push in the House of Representatives to provide the oil industry with immunity from liability for M.T.B.E. contamination led to an impasse on the energy bill last year, and the immunity effort this year was abandoned only last weekend.
Water districts and communities across the Island have filed lawsuits seeking payment for cleaning up and monitoring water. And the spills are everywhere.
There are 349 active M.T.B.E. spills being cleaned up or under investigation on Long Island, said Peter A. Scully, the director of the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Long Island office. But according to Toxics Targeting Inc., which compiles environmental-spill data in the state for water suppliers, municipalities and lawyers, there are at least 615 gasoline spill sites or leaking gas tanks containing M.T.B.E. in Nassau County and at least 610 in Suffolk."
What Seeps Beneath
NYTimes, July 31, 2005
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