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Vapor intrusion resources for environmental professionals

Screening for the vapor intrusion (VI) pathway must be conducted at every contaminated site in Wisconsin. The need to investigate VI is elevated when screening indicates the potential for VI is present, especially when trichloroethylene (TCE) is present due to its potential for acute (shortterm) health risks. Mitigation is the process of interrupting the VI exposure pathway such that the vapors no longer affect occupants. Mitigation is not a form of remediation. This page provides resources to help environmental consultants screen the vapor pathway, assess vapor risk and, where necessary, investigate and mitigate vapor intrusion at specific buildings. General information about vapor intrusion for property owners, tenants and the general public is available on the vapor intrusion page.

Guidance

Guidance on addressing vapor intrusion (VI)

Vapor migration is a contaminant pathway that needs to be evaluated like other pathways. Its evaluation is required by NR 716.11(5)(a), (b), (g) and (h), Wis. Adm. Code.

DNR VI guidance
Other DNR guidance
Supplemental resources
EPA guidance
ITRC guidance
DHS guidance

Screening levels

Quick look-up table of indoor vapor action levels (VALs) and vapor risk screening levels (VRSL)

Indoor air vapor action levels (VALs) are based on U.S. EPA's Regional Screening Level Tables [exit DNR], applying a 1 x 10-5 excess lifetime cancer risk or HI -1. The Quick Look-Up Table below is for VOCs frequently encountered on remediation sites. This table is updated periodically, when the U.S. EPA updates their tables.

The Quick Look-up Table for VALs and VRSL [PDF] provides:

  • indoor air VALs for VOCs frequently encountered on remediation sites;
  • sub-slab vapor risk screening levels (VRLS) for three building categories (residential, small commercial and large commercial/industrial for these common VOCs);
  • a formula for converting from ppbv to mg/m3;
  • links and formula for determining VALs for other VOCs;
  • attenuation factors for four screening media (crawl space, sub-slab, soil gas and groundwater); and
  • a formula for calculating VRSLs for any VOC using VALs and attenuation factors.

Summary of changes to VALs and VRSL for common VOCs

Wisconsin's VALs and VRSLs have changed over time because of updates to the U.S. EPA's risk calculations and default attenuation factors. This table, History of Changes to VALs, VRSLs and Attenuation Factors for Common VOCs, [PDF] is intended to be a quick reference to the historical VALs and VRSLs and the dates when changes occurred, so that users can understand the basis for past decisions at a site.

Using EPA's vapor intrusion screening level calculator to determine DNR VALs

The U.S. EPA Vapor Intrusion Screening Level Calculator (VISL) and VISL User Guide [exit DNR] can be used to calculate DNR VALs for compounds not listed in the Quick Look-up Table. The user can use the drop-down checkbox beside the chemical name (listed alphabetically) to adjust the compounds viewed on the worksheet. The user should adjust the default target risk to 1x10-5 and choose the risk scenario (residential or commercial). The calculator will then provide the target indoor concentrations for the carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic endpoints. The DNR VAL is equal to the lesser of the two values.

Community outreach

Community outreach

An effective outreach strategy that anticipates the needs and concerns of affected property owners and the community at large is important when vapor intrusion is involved. When citizens are well-informed about the issues surrounding a site, their questions and concerns can be more effectively addressed. Early two-way communication is essential for a successful investigation and mitigation effort. The following model letters and fact sheets are available for use with your outreach communications.

Template/model letters

The DNR created template letters to help environmental professionals communicate vapor intrusion investigations with affected property owners in plain, easily understood language. Because of the complex nature of vapor intrusion investigations, it is not possible to create a template letter for every situation. These template letters are yours to use as you see fit, in whole or in part.

Request for access to sample
Sample results
Request to install mitigation system

DNR fact sheets

These fact sheets are intended to help environmental consultants and responsible parties communicate critical information about the vapor intrusion pathway to affected property owners. The fact sheets can be used in conjunction with template letters or as stand-alone documents.  When planning an outreach strategy, decide which fact sheets and other tools best support the information you want to communicate to neighbors and other interested parties.

DNR videos

Like the fact sheets above, these videos are intended to help environmental consultants and responsible parties communicate critical information about the vapor intrusion pathway to affected property owners. These videos should be used in conjunction with fact sheets or other documents.

Training

DNR webinar training

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides web and teleconference-based training sessions that cover a variety of technical and policy issues.  Visit the RR Program training library to access the presentations and find vapor intrusion related topics.

2014 Vapor Intrusion Outreach "Toolkit"

Anticipating the needs and concerns of affected property owners and the community at large is critically important whenever vapor intrusion is involved. Clear and effective communication with them should be one of the goals of any outreach plan. To help with those efforts, the DNR created a comprehensive toolkit of vapor intrusion communication materials to increase the consistency and effectiveness of communications between responsible parties and the public.

2011 Vapor Intrusion Issues in Wisconsin - FET Webinars

In March 2011, staff from the RR Program participated in two Federation of Environmental Technologists (FET) webinars about vapor intrusion issues in Wisconsin. The agenda, PowerPoint presentation slides and videos of the presentations are available below.

PowerPoint slides
Video presentations

Other resources

Websites

CLU-IN
Workshops and conferences

Publications

Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP)
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC)
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / American Association or Radon Scientist and Technologists (AARST)
American Petroleum Institute
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Webinars

Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC)
Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP)

Contacts

Contacts

If you have general questions, contact Jennifer Borski or Jim Walden.

For site specific questions, please contact a DNR regional project manager. To determine which project manager you should contact, please see the RR Program's regional map [PDF].

Regional vapor intrusion experts

DNR Region Contact Person Telephone Number
Northern John Hunt (715) 701-9383
Northeast Josie Schultz (920) 662-5424
South Central Jeff Ackerman (608) 219-2302
Southeast Greg Michael (414) 405-1203
Southeast Joe Martinez (414) 218-6042
West Central Candace Sykora (715) 928-0452

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