New approaches studied to investigate vapor intrusion

In 2008, EPA Region 9 received an EPA RARE grant (Regional Applied Research Effort) to evaluate three promising techniques for VI assessment of indoor air: (1) using radon as a surrogate for assessing VOC VI; (2) using modified sorbent-based methods for longer, time-integrated measurements of indoor air VOCs; and (3) using building pressure differentials to assess the potential for VI. Available indoor air analytical methods are relatively expensive, so additional research is needed to develop cost-effective methods to evaluate vapor intrusion into individual buildings.

Region 9's cross-program team in collaboration with EPA's Office of Research and Development is comparing the results of the three techniques with the goal of improving and demonstrating cost-effective and health-protective alternative approaches for assessing vapor intrusion and indoor air quality in homes and commercial buildings. The EPA team conducted concurrent field testing of these methods at Orion Park Housing, a vacated military residential area at the Naval Air Station Moffett Field Superfund site in California. Preliminary data indicate promising results for longer-duration, modified sorbent-based methods for selected VOCs. The next phase of the field work will focus on testing the pressure differentials and active and passive sorbent-based methods in commercial buildings at NASA Ames Research Center in California. Study results are expected in 2010.

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