A mathematical model was used to study effects on the degradation of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in a packed bed reactor due to the presence of contaminants such as ammonium, and the mix of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX). It was shown that competition between the slower growing MTBE degraders and the co-contaminant oxidizers prevented MTBE's degradation when oxygen was limited. In this event, the co-contaminant oxidizers out-competed the MTBE degraders in the reactor's biofilm. However, if the oxygen supply was sufficient, MTBE would be fully degraded after the zone where the co-contaminants were oxidized. The results of the model further indicate that contradicting findings in the literature about the effects of BTEX on the degradation of MTBE are mainly due to differences in the study methodologies. Effects such as short-term toxicity of BTEX and the lack of steady-state conditions may also add to contradictions among reports.