TCE vapor intrusion exposure limits being established

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 26, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A number of CMTA members have expressed a concern with US-EPA Region IX’s recent actions regarding trichloroethylene and vapor intrusion and the Region’s efforts to get the US-EPA to adopt their exposure levels. This is a significant issue with national implications. Any CMTA member who has a facility that has used chlorinated solvents should be interested in this, as well as those who have facilities that stand over groundwater contaminated with these chemicals (even if they did not use them).

Region IX has established interim response action levels for short term indoor TCE exposure to be used in making site-specific decisions regarding the investigation and tiered response to TCE vapor intrusion. These action levels will increase and expand remediation costs substantially. Members have expressed the belief that Region IX’s recommendations should be rescinded by the US-EPA because there hasn’t been the necessary analysis to conclude that the weight of scientific evidence supports the exposure levels proposed and that they should initiate the development of standards based on sound science with the appropriate public notice and comment.

As stated by environmental attorney Rick Coffin:

Finally, commercial building owners within EPA Region 9 will now be subject to confusing and conflicting standards. Those whose facilities are within the boundary of a TCE groundwater plume may be asked to undergo significant disruptions for investigation and remedial activities, and even to evacuate their premises, despite having a concentration of TCE hundreds of times less than the permissible exposure level for workplace exposure. Meanwhile, building owners a few blocks away may be told that the same concentrations in indoor air do not require any measures, much less extreme measures such as evacuation. These conflicting standards are likely to sow confusion among the media and general public over safe exposure levels at Superfund sites and elsewhere.

This applies to tenants as well as owners.

If your company is concerned about this development, please send a note to CMTA’s environmental lobbyist, Mike Rogge at mrogge@cmta.netif you have not already done so. 

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