The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database

MTBE in Massachusetts

MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) is a fuel additive that had been used as an octane enhancer in unleaded gasoline; it contaminates groundwater due to spillage or leakage at gas stations, and has been banned or scheduled for phaseout in most states.

The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts

139 water utilities reported detecting MTBE in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average MTBE level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
1Juniper Hill Apartments
Charlton, MA
955 of 511.12 ppb
(6.3 to 18 ppb)
2West Brookfield Water Department
West Brookfield, MA
96527 of 288.39 ppb
(0 to 26 ppb)
3River Crossing Condominium
15015 of 188.36 ppb
(0 to 52 ppb)
4Brimfield Housing Authority
Brimfield, MA
6014 of 156.75 ppb
(0 to 42 ppb)
5Avon Water Department
Avon, MA
4,49328 of 295.89 ppb
(0 to 21.9 ppb)
6Westport Senior Village
1502 of 35.53 ppb
(0 to 16 ppb)
7Raynham Center Water District
Raynham, MA
8,0004 of 45.44 ppb
(0.77 to 14 ppb)
8Sturbridge Retirement Coop. Corp.
Sturbridge, MA
26313 of 134.16 ppb
(0.93 to 10 ppb)
9Carriage House Condominium
Boxborough, MA
665 of 53.74 ppb
(1.7 to 5.8 ppb)
10Westland Meadows
Leicester, MA
758 of 83.28 ppb
(1.1 to 7.8 ppb)

Health Based Limits for MTBE

California Public Health GoalsDefined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.13 ppb

Violation Summary for MTBE in Massachusetts

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Massachusetts since 2004

Violation TypeNumber of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly67