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Gas station closed for MTBE testing

The Valero gas station at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Raymond Avenue was temporarily closed this week as drilling continued under order of the Regional Water Control Board. The drilling is to determine levels of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE).

Soil sample tests will be completed within two to four weeks and results will then be provided to the control board, said David Gould, district engineer for Crescenta Valley Water District.

MTBE is a chemical compound used as a fuel additive in the early 1990s. The state of California discontinued use of MTBE in 2003, primarily because of leakage from underground gasoline storage tanks.

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Several gas stations along Foothill were ordered to provide soil samples after MTBE was found in well No. 7 of the water district last year. That well was shut down and remains so; however, levels of MTBE are currently low, due possibly to a lack of recent rainfall, Gould said.

Mars rovers to roll again

Opportunity and Spirit, the Mars rover dynamic duo managed by scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, appeared to have weathered the six weeks of powerful dust storms on the Martian surface.

The dust has yet to completely clear, but the scientists are feeling more confident in the rovers’ future.

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“The storms have subsided and now we are waiting for the skies to clear,” said John Callas, Mars rover project manager.

The dust storms on Mars are not like those on Earth, Callas said, as the Mars dust is very fine.

Callas said Opportunity’s scheduled trip into the Victoria crater will take place within a month.


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