Temporary vs. Permanent Sub-slab Ports: A Comparative Performance Study
Vapor intrusion (VI) is the migration of subsurface vapors, including radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from the subsurface to indoor air. The VI exposure pathway extends from the contaminant source, which can be impacted soil or groundwater, to indoor air-exposure points. VOC contaminants of concern typically include halogenated solvents as well as petroleum hydrocarbons. Radon, a colorless radioactive gas that is released by radioactive decay of radionuclides in rock and soil, migrates into homes through VI in a similar fashion to VOCs. This project focused on the performance of permanent versus temporary sub-slab sampling ports for the determination of VI of halogenated VOCs and radon into an unoccupied house. VOC and radon concentrations measured simultaneously in soil gas using collocated temporary and permanent ports appeared to be independent of the type of port. The variability between collocated temporary and permanent ports was much less than the spatial variability between different locations within a single residential duplex. Post sampling leak test results suggested that the temporary SSP desiccation and cracking of the clay portion of the seal were not as detrimental to the port seal performance as would have been expected, this suggests that the Teflon tape portion of the seals served an important function. Pre and post sampling leak tests are advisable when temporary ports are used to collect a time-integrated sample. These results suggest that temporary sub-slab sampling ports can provide data equivalent to that collected from a permanent sub-slab sampling port.