Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is a natural gas
derivative used as an additive in gasoline to help reduce smog. Federal
research studies have linked MTBE to tumors in laboratory rats.
Concerns about the possibility of MTBE entering drinking
water supplies through leaks, spills, etc. led the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) to urge states to discontinue use of the chemical.
Our water supply does not
Southern Nevada's groundwater and surface water supplies are regularly
tested for MTBE. The water provided to municipal water customers in Southern
Nevada contains no detectable MTBE.
A study conducted by the U.S.
Geologic Survey revealed low levels of MTBE in Southern Nevada's shallow
groundwater aquifer, which is not used for drinking water. The shallow
system is separated from the deep groundwater aquifer—from which
the valley draws about 12 percent of its drinking water—by a thick
layer of fine clay that forms a nearly impermeable layer.
For more information about MTBE, see the EPA's
MTBE fact sheet.