Field data and numerical modeling: A multiple lines of evidence approach for assessing vapor intrusion exposure risks

Kelly G. Pennell, Madeleine K. Scammell, Michael D. McClean, Eric M. Suuberg, Ali Moradi, Mohammadyousef Roghani, Jennifer Ames, Leigh Friguglietti, Paul A. Indeglia, Rui Shen, Yijun Yao, Wendy J. Heiger-Bernays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

USEPA recommends a multiple lines of evidence approach to make informed decisions at vapor intrusion sites because the vapor intrusion pathway is notoriously difficult to characterize. Our study uses this approach by incorporating groundwater, soil gas, indoor air field measurements and numerical models to evaluate vapor intrusion exposure risks in a Metro-Boston neighborhood known to exhibit lower than anticipated indoor air concentrations based on groundwater concentrations. We collected and evaluated five rounds of field sampling data over the period of one year. Field data results show a steep gradient in soil gas concentrations near the groundwater surface; however as the depth decreases, soil gas concentration gradients also decrease. Together, the field data and the numerical model results suggest that a subsurface feature is limiting vapor transport into indoor air spaces at the study site and that groundwater concentrations are not appropriate indicators of vapor intrusion exposure risks in this neighborhood. This research also reveals the importance of including relevant physical models when evaluating vapor intrusion exposure risks using the multiple lines of evidence approach. Overall, the findings provide insight about how the multiple lines of evidence approach can be used to inform decisions by using field data collected using regulatory-relevant sampling techniques, and a well-established 3-D vapor intrusion model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume556
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the residents who opened their homes to our research. Irene Dale and Jack Miano at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection shared institutional knowledge and access to site data. We are also grateful to Flint Kinkade of Viridian, Inc. for technical support related to sample installation and collection. The project described was supported by Grant Numbers P42ES013660 (Brown University Superfund Research Program), P42ES07381 (Boston University Superfund Research Program), P42ES007380 (University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and by Grant Number 1452800 from the National Science Foundation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
We thank the residents who opened their homes to our research. Irene Dale and Jack Miano at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection shared institutional knowledge and access to site data. We are also grateful to Flint Kinkade of Viridian, Inc. for technical support related to sample installation and collection. The project described was supported by Grant Numbers P42ES013660 (Brown University Superfund Research Program), P42ES07381 (Boston University Superfund Research Program), P42ES007380 (University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and by Grant Number 1452800 from the National Science Foundation . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V..

Keywords

  • Hazardous waste
  • Indoor air
  • Numerical modeling
  • Soil gas
  • Vapor intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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