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Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)

Petroleum Vapor Intrusion

Introduction

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Overview of Petroleum Vapor Intrusion (PVI)

Vapor intrusion occurs when vapor-phase contaminants migrate from subsurface sources into buildings. One type of vapor intrusion is PVI, in which vapors from petroleum hydrocarbons such as gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel enter a building. The intrusion of contaminant vapors into indoor spaces is of concern due to potential threats to safety (e.g., explosive concentrations of petroleum vapors or methane) and possible adverse health effects from inhalation exposure to toxic chemicals.

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PVI Guidance

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PVI Database

In support of its general guidance development effort for the petroleum vapor intrusion exposure pathway, EPA compiled an empirical database of measurements of subsurface media (soil gas, soil, and groundwater) and supporting data from 74 sites, including 69 sites in 10 states, 4 sites in Canada, and 1 site in Australia.

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PVIScreen

EPA developed a model to assess the potential for petroleum vapor intrusion into nearby building from leaking UST sites.  Modeling results may help regulators determine when sites can be screened out form further investigation.

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PVI Technical Supporting Documents

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Additional Vapor Intrusion Resources

  • Vapor Intrusion website
    This website provides basic information regarding non-petroleum vapor intrusion (e.g., vapor intrusion from chlorinated solvents) including technical and policy documents to support environmental investigations, and highlights of recent and upcoming activities related to vapor intrusion.
  • Vapor Intrusion Issue Area on EPA’s CLU-IN
    CLU-IN issue areas bundle available information associated with specific topics. These issue areas are updated with information from federal cleanup programs, state sources, universities, nonprofit organizations, peer-reviewed publications, and public-private partnerships.

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Generation, Transport, and Fate of Vapors in the Subsurface

The resources below provide information on the generation, transport, and fate of petroleum vapors in the subsurface.

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Sampling Methods and Analyses and Site Characterization

The resources below provide information about sampling methods and analyses as well as site characterization. 

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Indoor Air Sampling Methods and Analysis

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Soil Gas Sample Collection and Sample Analysis Methods

The resources below provide information about soil gas sample collection and sample analysis methods, focusing on sites where PVI may be a concern.

  • Hers, Ian, Loretta Li, and S. Hannam. Evaluation of Soil Gas Sampling and Analysis Techniques At a Former Petrochemical Plant Site. Environmental Technology 25:847-860.
    Presents an evaluation designed to provide information on reliability and selection of appropriate methods for soil gas sampling and analysis. The evaluation was based on a literature review of data and methods, and experiments completed as part of the research study.
  • Jewell, Kenneth P. and J.T. Wilson. 2011. A New Screening Method for Methane in Soil Gas Using Existing Groundwater Monitoring Wells. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation 31(3): 82-94.
    This study develops and evaluates a protocol to sample soil gas from groundwater monitoring wells that have some portion of their screen in the vadose zone. Using conventional groundwater monitoring wells as an alternative to installation of soil gas probes proved to be cost-effective and provided reliable results.
  • McAlary, Todd, Paul Nicholson, Lee Yik, David Bertrand, and Gordon Thrupp. 2010. High Purge Volume Sampling - A New Paradigm for Subslab Soil Gas Monitoring. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation 30:73-85.
    Presents a new method of monitoring that is based on a concept of integrating samples over a large volume of soil gas extracted from beneath the floor slab of a building to provide a spatially averaged subslab concentration.
  • McHugh, Thomas, Robin Davis, George DeVaull, Harley Hopkins, John Menatti, and Tom Peargin. 2010. Evaluation of Vapor Attenuation at Petroleum Hydrocarbon Sites: Considerations for Site Screening and Investigation. Soil and Sediment Contamination 19:725-745.
    A framework for the evaluation of vapor intrusion at petroleum hydrocarbon sites that involves simple screening for preferential pathways at sites with sufficient vertical separation between the building and the source, but a more intensive investigation at sites with petroleum sources in closer proximity to the building.

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Site Characterization and Conceptual Site Model Development

The resources below provide information about site characterization, for sites where PVI may be a concern.

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Models and Modeling

The resources below provide information about conceptual site model development, for sites where PVI may be a concern.

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Mitigation and Remediation of PVI

The resources below provide information about the mitigation and remediation of petroleum vapor intrusion (PVI).

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  • Chen, Wenhao, Jianshun Zhang, and Zhibin Zhang. 2005. Performance of Air Cleaners for Removing Multiple Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor Air. ASHRAE Transactions 111:1101–1114.
    Evaluates 15 air cleaners' performance in terms of single-pass efficiency and the clean air delivery rate in a mixture of 17 volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • EPA. October 2008. Engineering Issue: Indoor Air Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Approaches (PDF)(49 pp, 594 K) EPA/600/R-08-15.
    This paper is focused on the mitigation of vapor intrusion to prevent human exposure to anthropogenic soil and ground water contaminants. This document is designed to provide sufficient information to allow the reader to understand the range of mitigation technologies available. The document also provides information on selecting appropriate technologies in consultation with qualified engineering and risk management professionals.

Guidance

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EPA Guidance

This section provides PVI-related guidance documents issued by EPA.

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State Guidance

This section provides PVI-related guidance documents issued by state agencies.

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Alaska Alabama Arizona California Colorado Delaware Hawai'i Idaho Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania South Dakota Utah Vermont Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

The following link provides access to state vapor intrusion guidance documents. They are organized geographically through a clickable map of the U.S., in alphabetical order, or arranged by topic:

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Other Guidance

This section provides PVI-related guidance documents issued by federal agencies and other groups.

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