Traditionally, remedial programs focused on contaminated soil and groundwater, with a particular emphasis on drinking water. Indeed, the EPA Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) that is used to score sites for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL) is heavily weighted towards contaminated drinking water.
Under this conventional approach, sites did not get priority attention if groundwater was not used. In an effort to facilitate redevelopment, a number of state regulatory programs went further and did not require remediation of groundwater where local governments issued ordinances banning use of groundwater. As a result, the extent of groundwater plumes were not investigated.
This standard approach to remediation has changed with the discovery that vapor intrusion (VI) is far more prevalent that previously thought. Vi caught the attention of regulators following the unexpected discovery of contaminated in homes near the Redfield site in the Denver area in 2001 and several high profile sites in New York in 2002-03. These examples demonstrated that VI could occur in situations than previously thought and that the commonly used model underestimated the potential for VI.
These early cases prompted EPA to issue new VI guidance in 2002 and states began to slowly develop their own guidance as the scope of the risk . Eventually, ITRC issued VI guidance and ASTM issued its first VI Standard Practice in 2008.
During the past decade, regulators have not only come to better understand the vapor intrusion phenomenon but have also learned that contaminated plumes may extend far longer than originally believed- especially in urban areas. It is now not uncommon to encounter plumes extend up to a mile from a dry cleaner into residential neighborhoods.
We had been accumulating news articles on this issue since the mid-1990s following a number of high profile contaminated school sites in the New York area. We have posted our inventory of Vapor Intrusion articles below. While many of the specific sites discussed in these news articles are currently on state or federal databases, these articles can be useful for property purchasers, developers and lenders who are financing transactions involving properties located near these sites.
The news articles are grouped into two categories. The first category of news articles are scanned copies of the original print version of the article from the mid-decade. The original articles were scanned and organized by state. There is some overlap among the batches.
The second category of electronic news articles in chronological order. The articles do not represent all of the stories published on VI and may contain numerous articles for the same sites :