Evaluating the role of preferential pathways in exacerbating vapour intrusion risks

Article


Unnithan, Aravind, Bekele, Dawit, Samarasinghe, Chamila, Chadalavada, Sreenivasulu and Naidu, Ravi. 2023. "Evaluating the role of preferential pathways in exacerbating vapour intrusion risks." Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances. 10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hazadv.2023.100310
Article Title

Evaluating the role of preferential pathways in exacerbating vapour
intrusion risks

Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsUnnithan, Aravind, Bekele, Dawit, Samarasinghe, Chamila, Chadalavada, Sreenivasulu and Naidu, Ravi
Journal TitleJournal of Hazardous Materials Advances
Journal Citation10
Article Number100310
Number of Pages7
Year2023
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN2772-4166
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hazadv.2023.100310
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772416623000815
Abstract

Vapour intrusion (VI) has been garnering more attention in the research field in the past few decades owing to its associated health risks. Many field studies have been conducted to understand the process of vapour migration from the source to indoor air and the factors affecting it. This research project primarily concentrated on the role of highly permeable backfill materials like sand and gravel used as bedding and embedment for utility lines. These can function as preferential pathways for vapour migration in the vadose zone. Extensive laboratory investigations were carried out over 13 days using two large two-dimensional (2-D) columns, one with preferential pathway and one without preferential pathway, to investigate the natural attenuation process and the role of preferential pathways in VI. The presence of preferential pathway has a role in determining soil gas vapour distribution in the vadose zone. A notable increase in vapour concentrations was observed in the top layer of the column with preferential pathway compared to the column with no preferential pathway. This was due to enhanced distribution of contaminant vapours along the column facilitated by the preferential pathway. An increase in concentration was observed in the column with preferential pathway throughout compared to the column with no preferential pathway, confirming that the presence of natural or man-made drainage features in the sun-surface can influence the distribution of contaminants throughout a site. This research project generates a better understanding of preferential pathways and recommends taking into account the role of highly permeable backfill materials when developing CSM and VI health risks assessments. In this way the strategic priorities for remediation projects will be successfully established.

KeywordsVapour intrusion; Volatile organic compounds; Preferential pathway; Permeable backfill; Vapour attenuation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020410402. Environmental assessment and monitoring
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Newcastle
Douglas Partners, Australia
School of Engineering
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