The gasoline additive Methyl-tertiary-Butyl Ether (MtBE) is the second most common contaminant of groundwater in the USA and represents an important soil contaminant. This compound has been detected in the groundwater in at least 27 states as a result of leaking underground storage facilities (gasoline storage tanks and pipelines). Since the health effects of MtBE are unclear the potential threat to drinking water supplies is serious. Therefore, the ability to detect MtBE at low levels (ppb) and on-line at high-risk groundwater sites would be highly desirable. This paper reports the use of ‘commercial’ and metal oxide sensor arrays for the detection of MtBE in drinking and surface waters at low ppb level (μg.L−1 range). The output responses from some of the sensors were found to correlate well with MtBE concentrations under laboratory conditions.

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