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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 contain MTBE
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.