Study Finds Air Strippers Good At Removing MTBE From Water

A new study has found that air strippers can be used successfully to remove methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) from groundwater.

On Nov. 30, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) announced that the California MTBE Research Partnership published a report, Removal of MTBE from Drinking Water Using Air Stripping: Case Studies, that assesses the design, performance and costs of air stripper treatment systems using data from nine case study sites operating in the late 1990s. The case study sites include both packed tower and low-profile air strippers.

In addition, two models were evaluated for accuracy in predicting the cost and performance of packed tower and low-profile air strippers: the Aeration System Analysis Program Packed Tower Model and the North East Environmental Products ShallowTray Modeler software. The models were found to predict actual removal efficiencies within 15 percent, demonstrating that modeling can be a valuable tool for assessing air stripper cost and performance during conceptual design or remedy selection.

According to the study, a variety of different treatment trains can use air strippers to successfully remove a wide range of MTBE concentrations, and removal efficiencies ranged from 65 percent to greater than 99.9 percent.

Removal of MTBE from Drinking Water Using Air Stripping: Case Studies is one of eight reports published by the partnership. All the reports are available for download on NWRI's Web site (

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