The Everpure H1200: Combating MtBE in Drinking Water

There are plenty of nasty things floating around in untreated, unfiltered water, many of which present a risk to human health and quality of life. Sadly, many contaminants can be readily found in drinking water. Among these, some commonly encountered contaminants include lead and other heavy metals as well as volatile organic compounds, also known as volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and dangerous pathogens.

However, there are plenty of other insidious compounds out there that are lesser-known. One of these is methyl tertiary butyl ether, better known by the abbreviation MtBE.

Fortunately, there are systems out there that can remove it, such as Everpure H1200 drinking water filtration systems. But to effectively contend with these risks, we must understand them.

What Is MtBE?
Methyl tertiary butyl ether, also more commonly recognized as MtBE, is a flammable liquid compound that is manufactured and has a few different industrial applications.

Its most widespread use was as an additive in unleaded gasoline. MtBE, as a liquid component of gasoline, improves oxygen and octane levels, improving the oxygenate ratings of the gasoline and helping to reduce emissions. MtBE was widely added to gasoline through the 80s and 90s, but since the 2000s its usage has declined.

In addition to being added to unleaded gasoline to boost its performance and cut back on emissions, MtBE is occasionally used as a solvent and has some medical applications as well.

Although its use was phased out and some states eventually banned its use, it is still present in groundwater in some areas of the country, where it causes issues to the present day.

How Does MtBE Get in Water?
You might be wondering how a compound like MtBE ends up in drinking water, and it is not as straightforward as it might seem. The primary culprit is unlikely to be runoff, but rather underground gasoline storage tanks.

Despite the fact that the widespread use of MtBE is not what it once was, there are still some fuel facilities that use MtBE bearing gasoline. Other locations that contain underground fuel tanks where MtBE bearing gasoline is still (or was once) contained are likely to have leached it into the water. MtBE may also have been released into groundwater supplies from marine engines and to a certain extent, from deposition through the air.

The issue lies in the fact that MtBE is highly soluble in water, making it very easy to leach into water sources. Compounding that problem is the fact that MtBE is very stable and takes a very long time to degrade, so once it enters a water source, it will remain there for a long time.

How Can You Tell If MtBE Is Present in Drinking Water?
If there’s any good news in this, MtBE, unlike some dangerous contaminants, has very, very low taste and odor thresholds. This means that most people can detect it even when it is present in very low concentrations. For example, it’s estimated that most people can detect MtBE at concentrations as low as 20-40 parts per billion. Those that can detect MtBE by taste and smell report that it bears something of a smell similar to turpentine, and that the taste is similar, too - definitely not pleasant.

The EPA has also noted that at these concentrations, it is possible that MtBE might not cause health risks.

At any rate, MtBE is well known for causing a range of health effects, so if you’re concerned about water quality, you have two different options. One is that you can call your municipal water supplier and ask if they test for MtBE, as well as for the results of the testing.

If your supplier does not test for MtBE or your water comes from a well, you can take it to a state certified testing facility to have it tested there.

What Sorts of Health Hazards Does MtBE Present?
MtBE is suggested to cause a wide range of deleterious health effects. Short-term effects of MtBE consumption include dizziness, headaches, nausea, and nervous system effects. Long-term effects are more concerning, as MtBE may be implicated in kidney and liver disease. MtBE has not been demonstrated to cause cancer in humans but it is has been shown to cause cancer in animals.

Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency has not established a maximum contaminant level (MCL), the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has set forth a health-based standard in accordance with their own state law, the Safe Water Drinking Act. The standard is set at 13 μg/L.

What Can You Do About It?
If you’re concerned about MtBE concentrations in your home drinking water, you can install a drinking water system that is certified to reduce concentrations of the compound. For example, Everpure drinking water systems that use Everpure H1200 replacement cartridges are NSF certified to reduce substance concentrations of a wide range of contaminants, including MtBE. Everpure H1200 filters hold NSF Standard 53 and 42 Certifications and have .50 micron rating for removing a wide range of contaminants from drinking water as small as half a micron and larger in size.

What Else Does an Everpure H1200 System Help Remove?
Everpure H1200 filters are rated to filter water at a flow rate of ½ gallon per minute and are rated for 1,000 gallons, for longer filter life. In addition to being rated for MtBE substance reduction, Everpure H-1200 water filters can also:

●Dirt and cloudiness
●Chlorine taste and odor (chloramines)
●Mold and algae
●Particulate matter such as oxidized iron and manganese
●Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as THMs
●Can reduce cysts such as Cryptosporidium Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia

Questions about Everpure H1200 Water Filtration Systems?
If you still have questions about MtBE in water or about the specifications of Everpure H1200 water filtration systems, please consult the following link for more information regarding certifications and specifications. You can also reach out to us directly if you have any questions or concerns at