Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Systems in Dry Cleaning Facilities
Since the 1930’s dry cleaning companies have used chemicals like tetrachloroethylene (PCE), also known as perchloroethylene or PERC for their services. Unfortunately, these chemicals degrade very slowly, so when spilled they can remain in the sub-surface under a structure for decades. The vapors produced by these chemicals can rise from the soil and enter the building above causing dangerous levels of air contamination. This is referred to as vapor intrusion. When PCE is in vapor form, it can be inhaled and cause many different adverse health effects in humans. Having your building sampled for tetrachloroethylene and other harmful soil gases is ultra important to avoid the liability of occupants developing adverse health effects from vapor intrusion. Most commonly local health agencies will learn of tetrachloroethylene contamination during environmental assessments done when the property is being sold, or voluntary sampling performed by the companies responsible for the contamination. Once PCE contamination is found, further environmental testing will need to be done to determine if mitigation is needed.
Fortunately, if PCE remediation is necessary, companies like Lifetime Environmental Solutions can assist you in the installation of a vapor intrusion mitigation system. Lifetime Environmental Solutions is a nationally certified mitigation company with over two decades in business. We are eager to assist you with any and all vapor intrusion issues associated with your former or current dry cleaning facility.
The most well known method of mitigating toxic soil vapors from a structure is sub-slab depressurization (SSD). In new construction buildings, SSD systems draw air through a pre-installed gas permeable gravel layer under the slab of the structure with piping and a fan. In existing structures, a hole needs to be drilled into the slab and material under the slab removed to create a collection point for the piping and fan to draw gas out. By depressurizing the soil underneath the slab, the rising vapors are intercepted and directed out to prevent reentry.
The design and implementation of SSD systems should be performed by a certified professional, as improper installations can cause foundation issues or additional indoor air issues. Proper field extension testing should be performed before and after installation to determine location of the system and the amount of collection points necessary to cover the footprint of the building. The entire vapor intrusion mitigation process requires professionals from many different fields to coordinate and execute to perfection. For a free, no obligation sub-slab depressurization consultation give us a call now!
If the current or former dry cleaning facility does not have a slab on the lowest level, or a partial slab, this area will need to be covered with an air-tight vapor mat. A vapor mat will not allow any rising soil gasses to penetrate, and the piping for the mitigation system will be connected to the mat to remove the trapped gasses. This method can also be beneficial in preventing vapor intrusion during construction with the addition of a vapor mat below the poured slab. For questions regarding vapor mats and sub-membrane depressurization systems, give us a call.
The utilization of drain-tile under the slab to depressurize the soil is a proven mitigation technique because it allows for maximum field extension. In existing structures with drain-tile present, the SSD system can be attached directly to the drain-tile to allow air to be drawn from that correlated piping under the slab. If the current structure is without drain-tile, it can be installed by trenching into the slab and laying the pipe around the foundation. For new construction properties, the drain-tile and piping can be placed before the slab is poured. Lifetime Environmental provides drain-tile installation services for properties in need of a drain-tile depressurization system for vapor mitigation. For a free quote, call now!
Vapor Intrusion Health Risks
Exposure to high concentrations of PCE can cause a variety of health effects in humans. Short term health effects can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and throat irritation, but typically short term effects are only felt when PCE concentrations are abnormally high. Long term effects of PCE exposure are especially dangerous because even lower concentrations can take their toll. Long term health effects include birth defects, liver and kidney damage, and some forms of cancers. Elevated concentrations of PCE affect people in different ways depending on their age, sex, diet, and previous health concerns. In any case, if PCE concentrations are found inside of your building, steps to get it mitigated should be taken to protect all future occupants. For a free vapor intrusion mitigation quote, give us a call now!