Vapor Intrusion

Pinnacle staff are specialists in soil vapor intrusion (SVI) and indoor air quality issues at industrial and chemical releases across the United States. SVI is most commonly volatile organic compounds (VOCs) migrating through the subsurface pore spaces from soil and groundwater sources. These hazardous contaminated vapors concentrate beneath buildings, structures, footings, and foundation slabs and enter through even the most minute crack, fissure, or perforations in floors, walls, sumps, or along pipes. A common vapor migration mechanism is created by pressure differentials between indoor and outdoor environments created by heating, ventilation or air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and/or the operation of large mechanical appliances (exhaust fans, dryers, etc.) in manufacturing operations.

SVI is considered harmful, and potentially dangerous to indoor environments as a potential exposure pathway for inhalation or ingestion of hazardous VOCs. This potential introduces unknown risks to real estate transactions and financing due to unexpected and potentially diminished property values, and can increase a company’s environmental liability through third party exposures or toxic tort litigation. EPA and state regulatory agencies consider SVI a primary receptor pathway for hazardous chemical exposures that must be examined in subsurface investigations, property evaluations, and corrective action programs. SVI is integrated into all Pinnacle property management, transaction and investigation programs so this prospective property altering condition is not a surprise to you. Additionally, Pinnacle routinely reviews environmental conditions for clients on existing and closed investigation/cleanup sites to assess the potential for SVI, and we advise our clients on strategies to cost-effectively manage this issue.

A recent regulatory development in states like Minnesota, New York, and others, is SVI re-evaluation at current and past VOC impacted sites, including those previously closed with 'No Further Action' status. This is a retroactive program undertaken by regulatory agencies that did not understand SVI hazards to nearby structures. Systematically, several states and federal Superfund and RCRA programs are re-evaluating any site where soil and/or groundwater contained chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, or VOCs as classifying them as "vapor risk potential". This re-evaluation continues until a regulatory review (or property owner\PRP sampling program) confirms otherwise. Property owners, responsible parties, and lending institutions are being required to prepare, develop, and sample properties and report these results to awaiting regulatory agencies.

Pinnacle staff are available to assist you in evaluating your SVI risk. If you have any questions regarding SVI conditions or risks please contact Keith Rapp at 763-277-8422 or Steve Schleicher at 507-923-4285.