mtbe remediation handbook - edited by ellen e. moyer and paul t. kostecki

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  • Book Review/ Laura L. Sanders, Book Editor

    MTBE Remediation Handbookreviewed by Don H. Kampbell

    MTBE Remediation Handbook, edited by Ellen E.Moyer and Paul T. Kostecki, provides a unique reference onrelevant strategies for understanding and cleaning up methyltert-butyl ether (MTBE) contamination in the environment.This book presents available technologies for remediating asubstance that has a significant environmental impact. Em-phasis is on remediation of MTBE in spills of gasoline inwhich it has been used as an octane enhancer. Individualchapters of the book list useful databases and describe tech-nology to assess and remediate MTBE contamination.

    The book is divided into three sections consisting of 31chapters and an appendix. Each chapter addresses a differ-ent topic, usually focused on a specific remediation technol-ogy. Generally, the opening chapters introduce the historyof MTBE use and describe physical and chemical proper-ties discussed in the ensuing remediation chapters. Section Iconsists of seven chapters on the history of MTBE use asan octane enhancer, fate and transport of MTBE as a gaso-line component, a summary on occurrence of MTBE in sur-face and ground water, site assessment, analysis of gasolineenvironmental samples, and risk assessment. Section IIincludes nine chapters on application of remediation tech-nologies. Topics presented are receptor protection, sourcecontrol, gas-based technologies, in situ chemical oxidation,aerobic in situ bioremediation, anaerobic in situ biore-mediation, phytoremediation, ground water recovery, andnatural attenuation. Section II serves as a bridge from thediscussion of fundamental concepts to consideration ofapplied MTBE remediation. Section III is devoted to reme-diation case studies and includes chapters 17 to 31 and theappendix. Its objective is to present experiences for estimat-ing remedial costs, a U.S. EPA case studies database, anduse of cleanup technologies at different site locations.

    One of the strong points of the handbook is that it con-solidates information about remediation techniques underone cover, whereas previously the information was avail-able only in individual research papers. In the third chapter,John Wilson presents a noteworthy in-depth scientific pre-sentation on measurements of MTBE transport and fatein ground water. It is an excellent summary on resultingdistribution of gasoline constituents as controlled by

    attenuation and hydraulic processes in contaminatedground water environments. Bruce Rittmann in chapter 16does an exceptional job discussing in detail the pros andcons of natural attenuation with emphasis on the signifi-cance of dissolved oxygen and oxygenase enzymes. Thechapter on risk assessment by Pamela Williams and PatrickSheehan points out a definite void in data on MTBE con-tamination at low concentrations, highlighting the fact thatit has not been proven harmful to human health. RobertPirkle and Patrick McLoughlin pursued an important crit-ical review of analytical methods used for gasoline spillsamples. Unfortunately, data from a U.S. EPA analyticalguidance document had not been completed at the time ofpublishing, so was not included in their chapter presenta-tion. An important U.S. EPA database given by DavidRamsden and Tie Li shows evidence that MTBE remedia-tion does occur under a variety of conditions. One specialfeature of the handbook is the large number of contributingknowledgeable authors: the back cover lists 52 contribu-tors names.

    The handbook would be improved if each chapterlisted needs for further studies. Such information wouldbe beneficial guidance for new researchers in environ-mental remediation. Bruce Rittmann provides a good ex-ample of this on page 338.

    Figures and tables are easy to understand and clarifythe associated text. Only one typographical error wasnoticed in the entire text. The chapter-by-chapter referencelists would better facilitate a readers search if compiledinto a single reference list for the entire book. None of thepresentations on remediation techniques and case studiesare too advanced for an upper class student to understand.

    MTBE Remediation Handbook should be in all envi-ronmental professionals libraries, not only for the scien-tific information on MTBE but also for the descriptions ofconcepts of remediation fundamentals. The handbook hasa good chance of achieving the editors goal of improvingsuccess in the practice of MTBE remediation. Althoughthe handbook is an excellent guide and source, industryis phasing out the addition of MTBE to gasoline, soMTBE as a widespread pollutant may eventually becomenonexistent. Until that time, this book will serve as animportant resource.

    The 670-page MTBE Remediation Handbook is pub-lished by Springer (ISBN 978-1-884940-29-3) and isavailable at the NGWA Bookstore at a price of $121(members) or $166 (nonmembers).

    Stratford, OK 74872; dkampbell@sbcglobal.netCopyright 2007 The Author(s)Journal compilation2007National GroundWaterAssociation.doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2007.00363.x

    524 Vol. 45, No. 5GROUND WATERSeptemberOctober 2007