When a Phase 1 environmental survey revealed that a San Pedro shopping center undergoing redevelopment had housed a dry cleaning business for four decades, the next steps involved testing to determine whether any chemicals had leaked into the soil or water below.
The extent of contamination, after 40 years, was significant. And while it could have been worse, testing revealed a problem that required rapid intervention. Trichloroethylene (TCE), a carcinogenic chemical used in dry cleaning, had leached into the soil and formed a plume of vapor that had spread beneath neighboring businesses and was still on the move. Without immediate intervention, the groundwater table and a residential area behind the property were at risk.
The risk of hazardous compounds migrating into indoor air through vapors rising from soil or groundwater was not well understood until after disasters like the Love Canal in the late 1970s and the discovery of a plume of radon gas beneath a Pennsylvania home in the 1980s. Researchers began looking at the way that vapor-forming chemicals could pose a threat to indoor air.
Today, studies demonstrating adverse health effects among pregnant women exposed to vapor intrusion and other emerging research have led to new guidelines and standards reducing the allowable concentration of certain chemicals in indoor air.
For property owners and developers this requires close scrutiny of a property’s history for uses that pose a high risk of subsurface chemical contamination and thorough testing when such uses are discovered. Soil vapors can occur as the result of chemical spills or a practice of dumping industrial waste into drains or sewers. Because soil vapors can travel, there is a high risk associated with delay as vapors can reach indoor air through cracks in the foundation or other openings.
Our whitepaper, Vapor Intrusion: How to Ensure Environmental Compliance, will take you through the process and best practices for assessing and managing cases of suspected vapor intrusion.
Highlights of this Whitepaper
- How to identify vapor intrusion
- Populations at risk
- Health consequences
- Best practices for assessment
- How to choose an environmental partner for managing suspected or confirmed vapor intrusion
Is Your Property at Risk?
Vapor intrusion is typically found when a developer decides to remodel or sell a building and the lender requires a Phase 1 environmental assessment.
During the Phase 1 assessment, the history of the property is investigated to see if it is at risk for vapor intrusion.
The likelihood of risk increases dramatically in the vicinity of land formerly used for gas stations, dry cleaning operations and industrial businesses that have used vapor-forming chemicals.
If you suspect that your property may have vapor intrusion, the experts at Omega Environmental Services can help. We have decades of experience in the assessment and remediation of hazardous materials found in buildings, ground water, soil and indoor air. Omega performs assessments for public and private property owners, insurance companies, banks, general contractors and engineers. A full-service environmental management and hazardous materials consulting firm, Omega is recognized for its excellent client service, reliability and effectiveness for regulatory compliance.