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In the oil and gas exploration and production industry, one learns that oil floats on water, that there is an "oil-water" contact, and that for all practical purposes in oil extraction, one is after the oil that floats on the water. Looking up the solubility of a typical hydrocarbon compound found in gasoline, such as toluene, in a CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, results in the finding that the solubility of toluene in water is "i"; that is, it is insoluble. In fact, toluene, like many "insoluble" hydrocarbons, is very slightly soluble in water, and the amount that will dissolve is much more that one would like to have in drinking water.

The solubility of several hydrocarbons was given in Table 5.4. The solubility is much greater for these compounds than the amounts permitted in water (e.g., potable water) by regulations. Because of its carcinogenic affect, benzene is often "keyed" upon at sites where gasoline, for instance, has been spilled. The permitted level of benzene in drinking water is currently ≤ 0.7 ppb in NYS, because that is the approximate detection limit.

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