Temporal variability of indoor air concentrations under natural conditions in a house overlying a dilute chlorinated solvent groundwater plume

Chase Holton, Hong Luo, Paul Dahlen, Kyle Gorder, Erik Dettenmaier, Paul C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current vapor intrusion (VI) pathway assessment heavily weights concentrations from infrequent (monthly-seasonal) 24 h indoor air samples. This study collected a long-term and high-frequency data set that can be used to assess indoor air sampling strategies for answering key pathway assessment questions like: "Is VI occurring?", and "Will VI impacts exceed thresholds of concern?". Indoor air sampling was conducted for 2.5 years at 2-4 h intervals in a house overlying a dilute chlorinated solvent plume (10-50 μg/L TCE). Indoor air concentrations varied by 3 orders of magnitude (<0.01-10 ppbv TCE) with two recurring behaviors. The VI-active behavior, which was prevalent in fall, winter, and spring involved time-varying impacts intermixed with sporadic periods of inactivity; the VI-dormant behavior, which was prevalent in the summer, involved long periods of inactivity with sporadic VI impacts. These data were used to study outcomes of three simple sparse data sampling plans; the probabilities of false-negative and false-positive decisions were dependent on the ratio of the (action level/true mean of the data), the number of exceedances needed, and the sampling strategy. The analysis also suggested a significant potential for poor characterization of long-term mean concentrations with sparse sampling plans. The results point to a need for additional dense data sets and further investigation into the robustness of possible VI assessment paradigms. As this is the first data set of its kind, it is unknown if the results are representative of other VI-sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13347-13354
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 3 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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