Estimation of contaminant subslab concentration in vapor intrusion

Yijun Yao, Kelly G. Pennell, Eric M. Suuberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This study is concerned with developing a method to estimate subslab perimeter crack contaminant concentration for structures built atop a vapor source. A simple alternative to the widely-used but restrictive one-dimensional (1-D) screening models is presented and justified by comparing to predictions from a three-dimensional (3-D) CFD model. A series of simulations were prepared for steady-state transport of a non-biodegradable contaminant in homogenous soil for different structure construction features and site characteristics. The results showed that subslab concentration does not strongly depend on the soil diffusivity, indoor air pressure, or foundation footprint size. It is determined by the geometry of the domain, represented by a characteristic length which is the ratio of foundation depth to source depth. An extension of this analytical approximation was developed for multi-layer soil cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Sep 15 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grant P42ES013660 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/NIH, and the contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS/NIH.


  • 3-D simulation
  • Analytical approximation
  • Johnson-Ettinger model
  • Subslab concentration
  • Vapor intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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