When vapor-forming chemicals seep from the ground, vapor intrusion becomes a problem. In vapor form, these volatile chemicals can easily invade nearby homes and businesses, exposing residents and customers to harmful chemicals with dangerous side effects. Fortunately, environmental experts have honed several methods to eradicate these soil vapors. Soil vapor extraction is one such method. Read on to find out how soil vapor extraction works.
How Soil Vapor Extraction Works
What Are Soil Vapors?
When certain chemicals are spilled at a factory or leaked from a storage tank, they can easily seep into soil and groundwater. And when those chemicals evaporate, they often form chemical vapor, or gases with harmful chemical properties. These gases can travel through soil and infiltrate indoor air through cracks in building foundations. This is a cause for concern, as these chemicals can sneakily contaminate indoor air. Many types of chemicals can evaporate into gas, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Examples of VOCs are certain industrial products, petroleum products like gasoline, and dry cleaning chemicals. In vapor form, these chemicals can have serious side effects.
Are Soil Vapors Harmful?
While health effects vary depending on exposure levels, chemical vapors are never a good thing. As chemicals build up in indoor air, side effects might include nausea, headache, or respiratory irritation, particularly in individuals with compromised lungs or conditions like asthma. While the side effects typically go away when the person leaves the compromised area, long-term exposure to some chemical vapors can be extremely harmful. For example, long-term low-level exposure to some VOCs may raise a person’s lifetime risk for developing cancer. This is why soil vapor remediation efforts are so important.
How Soil Vapor Extraction Works
Soil vapor extraction, or SVE, is one popular soil vapor remediation tactic. First, SVE requires drilling one or more vapor extraction wells into the contaminated soil. Remediation teams drill these wells immediately above the ground’s water table, which is typically deeper than three feet below the ground surface. The teams must then create a vacuum in the well using equipment like blowers or vacuum pumps. The vacuum pulls the vapors through the soil and up to the surface for treatment. This last step removes any harmful contaminants, preventing soil vapor intrusion or spread.
Our Extraction Services
Soil remediation is a crucial element of environmental protection. Fortunately, the team at Environmental Works is well-versed in vapor extraction. Our approach to cleanup technology weighs several critical factors, including the extent of the contamination, geological conditions, proven effectiveness, and overall cost of each effort. We have years of experience with various remedial technologies, including soil vapor extraction. We offer soil vapor extraction services as part of our ground-up remedial system design and implementation services. These services are highly customizable based on individual circumstances and contamination levels. Take, for example, the case of a property located on the site of a former gasoline station in the Kansas City area. The EWI team designed and piloted a full-scale vapor extraction system for the client, allowing them to move forward with confidence in their environmental compliance.
Soil vapor extraction is a crucial tool in maintaining soil health and preventing chemical spread. By removing and treating vaporous chemicals from soil and groundwater, environmental experts can help prevent a slew of environmental issues and personal health problems in the surrounding areas.
Are you in need of further information on soil vapor extraction? When you’re ready, you can contact EWI online or call 877-827-9500 for more information. We have in-house experts ready to help walk you through the specifics of your organization’s needs. We can design and implement your soil remediation plan from the ground up with a fully custom approach.