Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Systems for Residential Properties in Neighborhoods of Concern
Residential vapor intrusion is a growing concern among homeowners as more information comes out about the dangers of toxic vapor exposure. In neighborhoods near former dry cleaning sites, metal manufacturers, auto manufacturers, gas stations, and other buildings that have used volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) the soil and groundwater throughout the area can become contaminated to the point that every home can experience vapor intrusion issues. Vapor intrusion occurs when vapor forming chemicals in the subsurface below a structure rise from the soil and enter through gaps and cracks in the foundation. Once inside, these vapors can become trapped and build up to unsafe concentrations. Exposure to toxic vapors from chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene can cause detrimental health effects to the occupants of the home. Health effects from vapor intrusion can include headaches, dizziness, nervous system damage, organ damage, birth defects, and even certain cancers. Typically, soil and water testing will be performed by the company that caused the contamination, or the developers of the neighborhood. If those tests show high concentrations of a toxic chemical, and those concentrations are determined to be dangerous to all homeowners in the area, vapor intrusion mitigation systems will need to be installed to protect every home. Fortunately, after the installation of a proper mitigation system, vapor concentrations can be reduced to a safe and livable level. The process of mitigating dangerous vapors from a residential home is very similar to the radon mitigation process which many people are familiar with. Lifetime Environmental Solutions is certified to provide vapor intrusion mitigation services for both residential and commercial properties, and has over two decades of experience providing these services. Give us a call today for a free vapor intrusion mitigation system estimate.
What is a Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System?
The Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System is a sophisticated system that prevents harmful vapors from infiltrating buildings and other structures. Vapor intrusion occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other toxic chemicals from soil or groundwater penetrate a building through its foundation or walls, posing significant health risks to occupants.
The system consists of a network of pipes and fans that effectively draw air from beneath the foundation or the surrounding soil, which gets treated using advanced techniques to remove or reduce the concentration of harmful chemicals.
The treated air is safely released into the atmosphere or vented outside the building, ensuring the occupants remain safe. Overall, the vapor intrusion mitigation system is a highly effective and efficient solution that safeguards buildings and their occupants from the perils of vapor intrusion. It is a crucial tool in maintaining healthy and safe indoor environments.
Types of Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System
Vapor Intrusion mitigation systems are essential to any remediation process intended to cleanse contaminated sites or prevent any potential for vapor intrusion in susceptible areas. A range of vapor intrusion mitigation systems exists to address this challenge to the specific site requirements. Here are a few of the fundamental systems that have gained wide adoption.
Sub-Slab Depressurization Systems (SSD)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sub-slab depressurization (SSD) as "a system designed to achieve lower sub-slab air pressure relative to indoor air pressure by use of a fan-powered vent drawing air from beneath the slab." Thus, a proper sub-slab depressurization system will divert rising soil gasses and vapors and neutralize them before they even have a chance to enter into the home. If you are familiar with radon mitigation systems, you will have a good idea of what a traditional sub-slab depressurization looks like. Sub-slab depressurization systems consist of PVC piping, a mitigation fan, and a manometer to measure vacuum pressure. The vent piping starts inside of the basement or lowest level of the home and extends up above the roofline to prevent any vapors from reentering. The mitigation fan for a proper SSD system must be placed above all conditioned living spaces or on the exterior of the home per code, so proper venting options are a bit limited. SSD systems can be routed to the exterior, or through an attached garage for aesthetics. Placement options are largely dependent on the construction of the home. Lifetime Environmental Solutions will work with you to find the best possible spot for installation on your home. Give us a call today to start the vapor intrusion mitigation process!
For homes with a sump crock and drain-tile present under the slab, the vapor intrusion mitigation system can be attached to that for better airflow. Attaching the mitigation system to a drain-tile system allows for a lot better field extension under the slab and typically results in optimal retest results. The sump crock will need to be sealed down air tight for this type of system to work, and the piping can begin from any point along the walls of the basement where drain-tile is present. Homeowners without drain-tile or a sump crock in their basements can elect to have it installed by a basement company, otherwise a typical SSD system can be installed instead.
Crawl Space Depressurization
In homes with a dirt or gravel crawlspace open to the basement, a traditional SSD system cannot be applied until a plastic vapor barrier is installed over that open soil and sealed air tight to the walls. After the vapor barrier is put into place, a collection point is added to the vapor barrier to draw out the trapped vapors underneath. Lifetime Environmental Solutions provides crawl space sealing and depressurization services for these types of homes. Give us a call today for a free quote!
Vapor Intrusion Health Risks
The health risks from exposure to toxic chemical vapors in the home is something still being researched. The currently known health effects from vapor intrusion in a livable structure include short term effects such as dizziness, headaches, eye irritation, and heart issues, and long term effects including birth defects, kidney and liver cancer, nervous system damage, and memory loss. The type of chemical vapors present, the concentrations of said chemicals, and the health history of the occupants exposed all play big roles in what type of health issues will be experienced.
Are you Looking for a Professional Residential Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Solution?
Vapor intrusion isn’t something to ignore, give us a call now for a free vapor intrusion mitigation system quote!