Vapor Intrusion….Have You Heard About It?

Posted: March 19, 2012

Vapor intrusion has recently become a hot topic in environmental law! Vapor intrusion is an indoor air quality issue that can develop when rapidly evaporating chemicals from polluted soil or groundwater make their way into buildings. Vapor intrusion is being brought to the forefront due to increasing regulatory attention, several lawsuits and a recently revised ASTM vapor intrusion screening standard.

The key issues are that vapors containing hazardous materials, can encroach on a property and make their way into indoor air. These vapors can have the ability to harm human health even in low concentrations. Vapor intrusion can drive property values down and expose property owners to litigation. To manage this potentially costly issue that may impact tenant/occupant health, knowledge is important! There is a growing consensus that vapor intrusion screening should be part of the Phase I ESA and the legal appendix of ASTM’s E2600 standard confirms this – “the potential presence of volatile chemicals in gas or vapor form in the subsurface of a property (from a CERCLA release at the property itself or a nearby property) is appropriately considered in the conduct of all appropriate inquiries under CERCLA, the AAI Rule, and a Phase I environmental site assessment pursuant to E1527-05.” Ignoring the possibility of vapor intrusion could be risky.

KEM can help you with the screening and testing for potential issues. Please call us at 301-961-1653 if you have any concerns.