Report: MtBE contamination widespread in NH

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A new report shows the gasoline additive MtBE, which may cause cancer, has been found in drinking water wells throughout New Hampshire.

State Environmental Services Commissioner Thomas Burack says the study found widespread contamination throughout the state in both public and private wells.

The highest incidence was in New Hampshire’s most populous counties: Rockingham, Hillsborough, Strafford and Merrimack. The study found nearly half of the private wells tested in higher population areas of Rockingham County contained MtBE.

MtBE was added to gasoline supplies from 1979 to January 2007, when the state banned it.

It helped gas burn cleaner to meet air pollution standards, but was found to contaminate water.

The Attorney General has sued oil companies and refiners that added MtBE to New Hampshire’s gasoline supplies, trying to get the companies to pay to clean up the contamination.

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