Quantification of Vapor Intrusion Pathways into a Slab-on-Ground Building: an Integration of Mathematical Modeling and Field Experiments

Friday, 19 December 2014
Yusong Li, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, Simin Akbariyeh, University of Nebraska Lincoln, LINCOLN, NE, United States and Bradley Patterson, CSIRO Land and Water, Floreat, Australia
Vapor intrusion of volatile organic compounds into buildings can be a significant source of human exposure to hazardous materials. Field assessment is essential to evaluate the vapor intrusion pathways, which has been recognized to be challenging due to the heterogeneity of sites and uncontrolled site environments. Modeling of vapor intrusion processes can predict subsurface vapor and oxygen concentrations and indoor air concentration under various environmental site conditions. However, detailed experimental quantification for model validation is typically unavailable. In this work, we report our efforts to quantifying vapor intrusion pathways into a slab-on-ground building by integrating mathematical modeling with well-controlled field measurements under three different pressure and ventilation site conditions. Comparisons between modeling and field measurements include indoor air concentration, contaminant and oxygen distribution profile beneath and inside the building, diffusive and advective flux under different pressure and air vitalization conditions. In addition to typically identified key factors influencing vapor intrusion (e.g. the building construction, the properties of compounds, and depth to the source), we found several additional parameters, such as anisotropic property of surface soil, locations of crack, and dependency of reaction rates on oxygen concentration, are critical to evaluate vapor intrusion pathways.