Luckily, awareness about vapor intrusion has grown in recent years. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specified vapor intrusion as a potential pathway in its Superfund Program, designed to fund the clean-up of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The program resulted from the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (CERCLA) in the early 1980s.
Before completing construction of the new facility, the owner opted to have a chemical vapor barrier installed as a preventive measure. This decision was made because improper handling, previously unregulated disposal, or accidental spills and leaks of these car service chemicals may have introduced themselves into the subsurface where they emit toxic gasses into the soil vapor.
A national chain of early childhood education centers chose the location of its Washington D.C. project on property known to have soil and groundwater contamination left behind from its former uses. The building designers were cognizant of the potential for vapor intrusion risk which might present itself to a sensitive population and researched design options.
As more scientific data regarding vapor intrusion comes out, and building owners become aware of the health risk to their occupants and the potential long-term liability associated with vapor intrusion in their buildings, interest in mitigations systems for existing buildings will only increase.
Developers know to do their due diligence on the environmental implications of a site before commissioning a new building, they may overlook one very specific factor that can turn out to be a serious concern.