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Posts Tagged ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’

Vapor Intrusion Investigations: Air Sampling Tips for Meeting Data Quality Objectives

Monday, September 26th, 2011

N. Dagnillo1, L. Hill2, A. Fortune3, A. Smith4, and S. Thompson2
1Trihydro Corporation, 3001 E. Pershing Blvd, Suite 115, Cheyenne, WY 82007
2Trihydro Corporation, 1537 Riverside Ave., Suite 101, Fort Collins, CO 80524
3Columbia Analytical Services, Inc., 2655 Park Center Drive, Suite A, Simi Valley, CA 93065
4Trihydro Corporation, 9460 Calle Milano, Atascadero, CA 93422

Vapor intrusion is a fate and transport process characterized by the upward movement of volatile chemicals from subsurface contamination (e.g., buried waste, contaminated groundwater) into overlying buildings. The potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to indoor air vapors has motivated private, state, and federal entities to develop guidance documents and protocols specific to the collection and analysis of soil vapor data.

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Proposed plans for UCMR Program

Monday, December 6th, 2010

By Heidi Brayer

UCMR 3At an April 2010 stakeholder’s meeting, the EPA discussed proposed plans for the third phase of the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulation (UCMR) program. If approved, approximately 4,800 public water utilities will be required to monitor up to 30 contaminants starting in 2013.

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Analytical Considerations for Air Samples for Vapor Intrusion Investigations

Monday, February 5th, 2007

The term “vapor intrusion” refers to the migration of volatile chemicals from subsurface contaminated sources into overlying residential or commercial structures. “Historically, it was thought that vapor intrusion was only an issue where the source of the contaminants was very shallow and the magnitude of the contamination was very great. It is now known that the previous assumptions about the mechanisms that could lead to exposure to vapor intrusion were not complete (NYS DEC DER Vapor Intrusion Guidance).” For a growing number of federal, state and local agencies, as well as environmental consultants and laboratories, vapor intrusion could emerge as the next major environmental challenge.

Vapor intrusion is not a new phenomenon— for some environmental experts, it has been recognized as a potential pathway of contamination for almost 20 years. In the late 1980s, the first vapor intrusion studies were carried out to evaluate potential health effects from chronic exposure to volatile organic compounds. Presently, vapor intrusion is of growing concern to the environmental community due to a number of factors, such as increased recognition of it as a potential pathway for exposure and the risks associated with that exposure, as well as the location and the number of potential sites for investigation and remediation. With this increased focus comes ongoing debate regarding the mechanism of the exposure pathway, compliance concentrations of contaminants, identification of sites, sampling approaches, analytical methodology, use and validity of current models, screening approaches, and risk assessment, among other topics.

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Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM) for Low Level Applications in Vapor Samples

Friday, October 3rd, 2003

Selective-Ion-Monitoring-for-Low-Level-Applications-in-Vapor-SamplesGas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is the method of choice for the identification of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in vapor samples (e.g. EPA methods TO-14A and TO-15). As various state and federal agencies more frequently require facilities to address risk-based concentrations, such as the low level preliminary remediation goals (PRGs), they find that the standard method is not able to reach the ultra-low levels needed. To address these requirements, CAS’ Simi Valley, California lab has developed a method using selective ion monitoring (SIM) to measure the compounds. SIM is a sensitivity enhancement technique, where the mass spectrometer is programmed to scan for only those ions that are pertinent to the compounds of interest (2-3 mass ions scanned per compound) while ignoring non-essential ions. The mass spectrometer becomes a highly sensitive compound-specific detector.

The driving force for the lower limits has been health risk assessment activities in the indoor and ambient air arena. The exposure criteria for many compounds are being re-evaluated constantly. A recent symposium sponsored by the Groundwater Resources Association (GRA) on subsurface vapor intrusion to indoor air has recommended that the SIM analytical technique be used. For example, trichloroethene (TCE) will have a reporting limit of 1.0 mg/m3 (0.19 ppbv) using the standard full scan method. In contrast, the reporting limit of 0.05 mg/m3 (0.0093 ppbv) for TCE will be achieved with the SIM technique. This meets or exceeds most risk-based concentration criteria. Lower limits are occasionally requested and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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