Vapor Intrusion Investments by SERDP & ESTCP

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In 2004, the first demonstration focused on vapor intrusion assessment was initiated under ESTCP with the objective of identifying a cost-effective and accurate protocol for investigating vapor intrusion into buildings overlying contaminated groundwater. This successful field demonstration culminated in the publication of recommendations for the investigation of vapor intrusion. Since that time, SERDP and ESTCP have continued to refine and develop the knowledge base and tools for assessment of vapor intrusion.

Subsequent ESTCP demonstrations have focused on improved measurement tools ( ER-200702 and ER-200830), the ability to distinguish between vapor intrusion and indoor sources of volatile organic compounds ( ER-201025 and ER-201119), screening criteria ( ER-200707), and improved mitigation techniques ( ER-201322). Despite the amount of work in the development and validation of these technologies, it became clear that additional research under SERDP was warranted to better understand vapor intrusion processes.

In 2009, in response to an expert panel recommendation, SERDP released a Statement of Need that called for better pathway assessment for vapor intrusion from chlorinated solvent-contaminated groundwater. Two projects were funded led by Arizona State University and the Colorado School of Mines. Interim results from the Arizona State University team indicate that (a) low concentration (10’s of μg/L) dissolved plumes of volatile organic compounds can cause indoor air impacts at levels of concern, and (b) conventional infrequent point-in-time sampling methods may not be capable of adequately characterizing indoor air impacts resulting from vapor intrusion.

After a decade of effort, SERDP and ESTCP sponsored a workshop on vapor intrusion in Tempe, Arizona on December 19, 2013, to develop a strategic plan for investments addressing characterization and mitigation, as well as technology transfer. Specific questions addressed included:

(1) What additional research is warranted in this area, if any?

(2) Are there additional technology or methodology demonstrations needed to move the field forward to implementation of key concepts?

(3) What interactions need to take place with the end users?

(4) Are additional guidance documents, training, and/or seminars needed?

Approximately 25 invited experts representing DoD remedial program managers, state regulators, engineers, academic researchers, and consultants attended the workshop. A review of the research, demonstration, and technology transfer needs identified is presented in the workshop report.

Summaries of the research and demonstration projects discussed above can be found on the SERDP and ESTCP web site. In addition, all reports originating from these efforts are available to download at the project web pages. Please contact the Environmental Restoration Program Manager if you have additional questions about this research area.

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