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EPA Promotes "Soil Gas Safe" Approach to Potential Vapor Intrusion Concerns

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


EPA recently announced at the Brownfields 2013 conference that the Agency was in favor of preemptive vapor intrusion control systems when constructing new buildings, particularly at brownfield sites. A "soil gas safe" community is one where all buildings use devices that minimize or prevent vapor intrusion, according to EPA's Henry Schuver.

Many brownfield projects face chemical vapor intrusion (VI) concerns. Controls for the prevention of soil gas intrusion into indoor air are a relatively low-cost and quick addition to most new developments and bring value to the buildings involved, according to Roux Associates. EPA supports a "soil gas safe" approach that highlights the benefits of preventing all soil gas/vapor intrusion, particularly for cases where there is some potential for chemical VI to be present. 

The Agency's advocacy of preemptive mitigation is a positive step in promoting redevelopment of impacted sites and other brownfield properties. If completed as part of the routine construction process, mitigative measures, such as aerated permeable floors, are protective of human health and may minimize any perceived stigma associated with brownfield redevelopment projects.