EPA Studying Area Neighborhood For Potential Vapors in Soil
What are VOCs?
VOCs are a group of chemicals used in solvents, paints and dry-cleaning fluid. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods may cause an increase in health risks.
The following agencies are working together to address the potential of vapor intrusion:
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Minnesota Department of Health
- City of St. Louis Park
You may review site documents at:
St. Louis Park Public Library
3240 Library Lane
St. Louis Park, Minn.
Check out these Web sites:
Highway 7 & Wooddale Avenue Soil Vapor Study Areas
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon begin testing up to 250 homes and businesses in a St. Louis Park neighborhood for potentially hazardous vapors that might be seeping into the structures from underground. The agency will test buildings on both sides of Highway 7 near Wooddale Avenue.
Samples of ground water taken in St. Louis Park in 2005 and 2006 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were found to contain volatile organic compounds known as VOCs. (See box at left for a brief description of VOCs.) That prompted more tests to find out if the soil contained vapors from the VOCs. These vapors can move up through the soil and into the basements of homes and other buildings. This process is called "vapor intrusion."
While there is no evidence to suggest an imminent health risk to residents, the agency needs to examine the potential for vapor intrusion in the area.
EPA expects to begin the vapor study in January. Here's what to expect when the study starts:
- Workers will install sampling points in the basements or beneath the foundations of buildings to take samples of gases in the soil beneath the buildings. These points will be flush with the basement floor and will be capped with a fitting that can be removed for sampling. In some locations, two points will be installed. Installation of these sampling points will take about 45 minutes and samples will be taken daily for about 15 working days.
- Soil gas collection probes will be installed at about 20 locations in the area where ground-water contamination was found. These locations, however, were not tested previously. These tests will help EPA determine if the indoor sub-slab sampling described above should be expanded.
- Workers will take indoor air samples at 25 of the 250 locations. Again, results of the sub-slab testing may prompt indoor air testing at additional locations. Indoor air samples will also be taken in any location where the initial results of the sub-slab sampling shows elevated levels of VOCs.
Once the testing is complete, workers will remove the sub-slab sampling points. They will fill the holes with quick-setting concrete and return the floor to the same condition it was in before the sampling.
The results of this study will help EPA determine what additional sampling and investigation may be necessary.
Potential protective measures and remedies
EPA will take all steps necessary to fix any problems found. One way to handle VOC vapors in homes is to seal cracks or other spots in basements and crawl spaces. That's one potential pathway for vapors to enter the home. Another fix is to install venting systems in homes. VOC gases trapped in soil could be removed through a variety of technologies. If a system like this is needed, EPA will use the most appropriate technology to resolve the problem.
For more information
For more information about the study, you may contact:
Sonia Vega (firstname.lastname@example.org) 651-757-2796
EPA On-Scene Coordinator
520 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Cheryl Allen (email@example.com) 800-621-8431, Ext. 36196
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator (P-19J)
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
Region 5 Office of Public Affairs (P-19J) 77 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60604-3590 United States Environmental Protection Agency Reproduced on Recycled Paper HIGHWAY 7 & WOODALE AVENUE SOIL VAPOR STUDY AREAS: EPA Studying Area Neighborhood for Potential Vapors in Soil
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- David Moore, Project Manager 651-296-7397 firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Scheer, Hydrogeologist 651-296-6630 email@example.com
- CoriAhna Rude-Young, Public Information Officer 651-296-5965 firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota Department of Health
- James Kelly, Health Assessor 651-201-4910 email@example.com
- Tannie Eshenaur, Community Health Educator 651-201-4873 firstname.lastname@example.org
City of St. Louis Park
Brian Hoffman, Inspections Director 952-924-2584 email@example.com