Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a common groundwater contaminant, introduced to the environment by leaking petroleum storage tanks, urban runoff, and motorized watercraft. In this study. a simplified (static) headspace analysis method was adapted for determination of MTBE in water samples and soil water extracts. The MDL of the headspace method was calculated to be 2.0 microg L(-1) by the EPA single-concentration design method(1) and 1.2 microg L(-1) by a calibration method developed by Hubaux and Vos (Hubaux, A.; Vos, G. Anal. Chem. 1970,42, 849-855). The MDL calculated with the Hubaux and Vos method was favored because it considers both a true positive and a false positive. The static headspace method was applied to analysis of a tap water sample and a monitoring well sample from a gasoline service station, a river sample, and aqueous extracts from soil excavated during removal of a leaking underground storage tank (LUST). The water samples examined in this study had MTTBE concentrations ranging from 6 to 19 microg L(-1). Aqueous extracts of a soil sample taken from the LUST site had 8 microg L(-1) MTBE.