1. What is Soil Vapor?
Soil vapor is gas that has escaped from soil or from chemicals dissolved in groundwater. This vapor can rise through soil, much the way radon does. Soil vapor can be tested for chemicals similar to the way that soil and groundwater can be tested.
2. What is Vapor Intrusion?
As defined by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Vapor Intrusion refers to the movement of volatile chemicals (VOCs – volatile organic compounds) from below the ground surface into overlying buildings.
3. How did the chemicals causing the vapor intrusion get in the groundwater? The former Pompton Lakes Works manufacturing facility produced a variety of explosive materials over a 92-year period. Chemicals were used on the site during the manufacturing process to degrease and clean machine and metal parts. During their use some of the chemicals used during the process were spilled onto the ground.
Chemicals in the environment can enter your residence in three general ways:
- Vapors moving through the soil can enter through cracks in the foundation and slab of structures
- Household products emit vapors into the indoor air (even if their containers are closed), and
- Chemicals that exist outdoors from nearby or distant sources of air emissions (e.g., dry cleaners or paint shops) can enter the indoors through windows and doors.
5. What indoor air testing are you doing?
Under the direction of the NJDEP, O’Brien & Gere is currently conducting indoor air sampling according to the approved work plan. An independent laboratory receives the samples and analyzes them for the presence of 62 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including the ten that have been detected as part of the ongoing groundwater sampling program.
6. What is DuPont doing to minimize the potential for vapor intrusion resulting from former manufacturing operations?
DuPont has offered to install a vapor mitigation system at no cost to homeowners to mitigate for possible vapor intrusion. The vapor mitigation system is similar to a radon mitigation system and is designed to prevent vapors from entering a home. A vacuum is applied below the foundation of the home and the vapors are vented to the outside. These systems are highly effective and have been proven to work in thousands of homes across the United States. DuPont’s goal is to install a safe system at no cost and with as little inconvenience to homeowners as possible. This mitigation system will also prevent radon from entering the home.
7. How long is the offer from DuPont for a mitigation system good for?
Many homeowners have already accepted the offer to install a system, and DuPont is actively installing systems in the area. Eligible residents are encouraged to contact DuPont to schedule a sampling and/or mitigation system design if they have not done so. Please call, (973) 492-7729.
8. What is the plan for indoor air sampling?
Indoor air sampling has been made available to residents who are located in the potential vapor migration area to gain an understanding of potential vapor intrusion into the structure prior to the installation of a vapor mitigation system. A follow-on indoor air sample will be collected approximately four weeks following the installation of the mitigation system. The results of the follow-on sample will be used, in conjunction with the design criteria, to evaluate the operation and efficiency of the mitigation system. DuPont will collect an additional indoor air sample if a system scheduled for installation over the winter months is delayed by either DuPont or its sub-contractor. If an initial indoor air sample has been collected, DuPont or its sub-contractor will not collect a second indoor air sample if a resident:
- refuses to have a mitigation system installed, or
- has decided to have a mitigation system installed after the winter months.
9. How long will vapor mitigation systems be kept in place?
Residents can choose to keep the system in place as long as they are needed to treat groundwater vapors. If homeowners choose not to keep the system, after such time as the groundwater vapors are remediated, DuPont will remove the mitigation system at no cost to the homeowner and with the approval of the DEP.
10. Will DuPont make available information about vapor issues to realtors? Yes, DuPont will answer questions that realtors have concerning the vapor migration and mitigation efforts. DuPont is in the process of scheduling an information meeting for local realtors to educate them about the vapor migration and mitigation efforts so they have a better understanding of the process.
11. Has our drinking water been affected?
No. Homes located within the potential vapor migration area and extended investigation area, receive their potable drinking water from the Pompton Lakes Borough Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) wells located outside the affected groundwater area. The following link will connect you to Pompton Lakes Municipal Water Authority. http://www.plbmua.org
12. Who can I contact for further information?
David Epps, DuPont Project Director (973) 492-7703
Mindy Mumford, NJDEP Community Liaison (609) 777-1976
Ed Merrill, Pompton Lakes Environmental Officer (973) 835-0143 (ext.227)