Workshop Charge Statement


November 13-14, 2013

Arlington, VA

Background: The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) are the Department of Defense’s (DoD) environmental research programs, using the latest science and technology to improve DoD’s environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities.  SERDP and ESTCP support efforts ranging from basic and applied research to field demonstration and validation.  For additional information, refer to the website

In recent years, concerns have grown over the migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil into surface and sub-surface structures.  Vapor intrusion into buildings is driven by natural processes, including advection, diffusion, biodegradation, and pressure fluctuations caused by wind, temperature, and diurnal cycles. Potential consequences range from concentrations of no significance to unacceptable long-term/chronic exposures and occasionally include short-term impacts (e.g., explosion, acute effects).  This risk pathway is the driver for many corrective action plans and site cleanups today.

While the development of methods for measuring and assessing vapor intrusion has been underway for several years, research on the underlying science governing the vapor intrusion pathway has been lacking. Tremendous uncertainty remains regarding how best to assess the vapor intrusion pathway,. vapor intrusion monitoring can be expensive and time-consuming, and temporal and spatial variability can be vast. As a result, evaluating the data from vapor measurements in both above-ground buildings and underlying soils is difficult.

SERDP and ESTCP have funded research and demonstrations seeking to provide a more robust understanding of vapor intrusion and its significance, as well as improving the current sampling methodology and risk assessment approach for vapor intrusion assessments.  These efforts will, over time, provide more accurate prediction, monitoring, and management tools which ultimately provides more cost-effective protection of human health.  An assessment of current research progress and future research needed to meet the needs of the DoD in managing vapor intrusion-impacted sites is critically important.


Objective:  To support the dissemination of information, this technical exchange meeting will (1) provide a forum for practitioners and researchers to interact and exchange knowledge on the current state of vapor intrusion research; (2) encourage discussion of pertinent issues faced by remedial project managers (RPM) in the field; and (3) highlight the innovative research being conducted under current SERDP- and ESTCP-funded projects. 


Approach: Scheduled for November 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the two-day technical exchange meeting will consist of several formal presentations that summarize currently funded efforts in this area, a poster session highlighting recent research, directed discussions on the state of the science, and a site visit to a field laboratory based in a residential building with a history of vapor intrusion impacts.  The meeting’s focus will be on establishing contact between researchers and site managers to encourage information exchange between the groups.

Products: This meeting will provide a summary and prioritization of research needs for the management of vapor intrusion-impacted sites which will be summarized in a final report that will serve as a strategic plan to guide future SERDP and ESTCP investments.