Methyl tertiary Butyl Ether (MtBE) has been detected in a number of private wells throughout New Brunswick. While primarily used as an additive in gasoline, MtBE may also be present in other fuels. The New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness has established a Health Advisory Level for MtBE of 15 ug/L for potable water at the point of consumption. Remedial criteria have not yet been developed for soil and groundwater, as there are outstanding technical issues which must first be resolved. In the interim, the Department of Environment and Local Government is focusing on determining the prevalence of this chemical in New Brunswick groundwater, and on protecting human health at the point of consumption. In order to obtain this information, the Department has outlined the following interim requirements for sampling and monitoring of MtBE at contaminated sites:
- In areas where municipal wellfields, watersheds and private wells are located, sampling of MtBE in groundwater should be completed on all monitoring wells constructed for the purpose of determining the extent of the contamination. Sampling should also be completed on any source property or third party private wells in the vicinity of a contaminated site where it is detected or suspected that the contamination will migrate to these wells. Sampling should be completed at sites where a petroleum release has occurred, regardless of the specific type of petroleum product that has been released.
- If MtBE is detected in either monitoring wells or private wells, it should be an included parameter in any future groundwater monitoring program.
The Department will re-evaluate the sampling and monitoring requirements in March 2004 following a review of information submitted to the Department over the next year.
The New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness has developed a fact sheet on MtBE that should be distributed to property owners whose wells have been impacted with MtBE. Copies of the Fact Sheet are available on the Atlantic RBCA website.
Persons requiring further information on this initiative should contact the Remediation Branch at (506) 444-5955.