Study says MTBE cleanup will cost $29 billion |

Study says MTBE cleanup will cost $29 billion

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) – It will cost at least $29 billion to remove the gasoline additive MTBE from soil and water around the nation, according to a new study.

”There’s no question. We’ve grossly underestimated the cleanup costs,” said Matt Hagemann, a researcher with Komex H2O Science, a Huntington Beach environmental consulting firm that performed the study for Santa Monica and other cities that are suing oil companies over contamination by MTBE.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is added to gasoline to reduce air pollution. But the chemical, a suspected carcinogen, pollutes groundwater far more readily than gasoline alone. MTBE has been blamed for contaminating countless sites around the country, especially in California.

Last month, a Senate committee authorized spending $400 million to clean up MTBE contamination.

But Komex estimated that at least 45,000 private wells and 500 public wells that supply drinking water are polluted by the chemical.

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