EPA Announces List of Superfund Sites to be Reviewed Under New Vapor Intrusion Standards

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In a December 2014 press release issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it was announced that 22 previously cleaned Superfund sites will soon undergo a five-year review process based on developments in the field of vapor intrusion. EnviroForensics, a leading national environmental consultation firm, weighs in on the potential impacts of these developments and what responsible parties need to know in order to continue business without risk of unforeseen complications.

Enviroforensics - VI and PERC experts

Enviroforensics - VI and PERC experts

Those who are legally and financially responsible for the site may find themselves in the midst of a high-profile public health concern if it is found that the inhalation of TCE is occurring.

Just before the close of 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 22 previously cleaned Superfund sites will soon undergo a five-year review process. These sites are among the first that could see significant additional cleanup work required due to recent developments in the vapor intrusion field of study. EnviroForensics is among the nation’s leading consulting firms in the field of vapor intrusion, and their experts can foresee related problems that may arise for responsible parties and property owners.

Conservative and controversial new toxicological information accepted by the EPA could vastly affect the results of five-year reviews at Superfund sites where the hazardous substances trichloroethene (TCE) remains in the subsurface. The EPA has recognized that at sites where exposure assessments were performed and remedial decisions were made over five years ago, the potential for vapor intrusion to be occurring may not have even been addressed.

EnviroForensics consultant, Jeff Carnahan comments, “Future five-year reviews performed at Superfund sites could result in requirements to open an entirely new phase of investigation related to vapor intrusion. If any unacceptable vapor intrusion risks are identified as a result, then additional cleanup activities are also likely.”

He adds, “Those who are legally and financially responsible for the site may find themselves in the midst of a high-profile public health concern if it is found that the inhalation of TCE is occurring. While it’s not probable that Superfund sites will be reassessed in advance of their five-year review schedule, it may be prudent for responsible parties to have their vapor intrusion experts look at the situation now. “ To read a full article on the topic, visit http://www.enviroforensics.com.

Five-year reviews are required by law at Superfund sites and are intended to ensure that previously performed cleanup activities continue to protect public health and the environment when hazardous substances are left in place. The review process includes an evaluation of the ongoing efficiency of engineered controls, such as landfill caps and vapor intrusion mitigation systems, and the continued effectiveness of institutional controls such as land-use restrictions. These land-use restrictions may have been emplaced as part of the environmental remedy. Existing site conditions are also reconsidered in light of any advances in contaminant fate and transport science, toxicology or public health epidemiology that could impact the conclusions of previous performed exposure risk assessments.

For more information on receiving a vapor intrusion site assessment, contact EnviroForensics at or http://www.enviroforensics.com.

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Aaron Greene
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