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“Property Line Contamination Issues and Associated Risks to Buildings plus Cross-Contamination Issues & Water Supply Protection”

Vapor phase transport of petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents released into the subsurface is a challenging problem that requires special investigation and interpretation techniques. A case study is presented that illustrates the potential issues that can arise from historical release(s) of volatile organic compounds (VOCs-such as perchloroethylene [PCE]) to the subsurface and then into buildings (vapor intrusion). Site owner/developers are faced with deciphering fact from possible conjecture from professionals hired to conduct site assessments. Lateral migration of vapor contamination from one property to another can result in unnecessary burdens to properties adjacent to a property where a significant release occurred.

Investigators faced with drilling through historical releases of chlorinated solvents in the subsurface should proceed with caution to avoid creating additional contamination issues (cross-contamination), i.e. prevent the situation from getting worse. A case study is presented that demonstrates the challenges that arise from drilling through known chlorinated solvents in soil into shallow groundwater.

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