Indoor Air Sampling at Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Contaminated Sites

Introduction, Methods, and Interpretation of Results

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Site Assessment and Consultation Unit has developed a short document to provide general guidance for the collection and analysis of indoor air quality samples at or near sites contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Because of their ability to evaporate from contaminated soil and groundwater, to move easily through the soil in a vapor state, and to penetrate structures, VOCs are the most likely contaminants to reach the indoor environment. The information in this document is not intended to replace, but rather to augment, existing state and federal guidance for the investigation and remediation of contaminated sites.

Our understanding of soil vapor migration and infiltration into indoor air continues to grow at the state and national level.  To assist in the investigation of this important potential exposure pathway, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued several guidance documents that can be accessed on their web site by following the link below.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2002 guidance document, OSWER Draft Guidance for Evaluating the Vapor Intrusion to Indoor Air Pathway from Groundwater and Soils is also useful.  The MPCA and EPA documents present approaches for screening and evaluating contaminated sites for their potential to impact indoor air. Unlike those documents, this MDH guidance is not focused on the issue of when to assess a particular site for impacts to indoor air, but rather offers guidance on how to go about this indoor air assessment once a decision has been made that this is a pathway of potential concern.

Guidance document: Indoor Air Sampling at Vapor Intrusion Sites: Introduction, Methods, and Interpretation of Results (PDF: 113KB/16 pages)

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Additional Resources

Updated Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 03:22PM