The US EPA estimates there are over 450,000 of these contaminated sites in the US. The cost to perform measurements stems primarily from the labor involved in placing and replacing the passive sorbent tubes used to collect vapor samples. Analysis of these $150-tubes costs up to $350 per sample, which can add up to over $8000 annually when considering that multiple tubes must be used per site. Seacoast proposes a solution to provide continuous monitoring using it proprietary sensor and sampling system. This Vapor Intrusion Monitor (VIM) combines low-cost detectors, a trap-and-purge collector and chromatography to (1) continuously collect and analyze the air in its immediate environment, (2) provide wireless data transmission to a network for remediation specialists to use in tracking models, and (3) allow for an automated, re- usable, low-maintenance system that does not need a trained operator to collect samples. The project's overall objectives are to (1) develop sensor and preconcentrator materials sensitive to chemicals commonly found in brownfields (e.g. trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and benzene);(2) Demonstrate the detection of these chemicals below EPA reference exposure levels (REL);and (3) Demonstrate that these the multi- sensor systems can be automated and repeatably detect these chemicals from a simulated environment. This SBIR project addresses the need for better systems to monitor vapor intrusion into homes and facilities that neighbor brownfields and Superfund sites. The system will be inexpensive compared to common laboratory equipment, and portable for easy setup, and will not require compressed gases to operate, making it safe to leave unattended. The VIM will be sold directly to remediation specialists and government agencies for use in their research and remediation programs. At under $5000, the system's ability to provide continuous data, allows for a much lower cost per sample than the traditional means of sample collection. At this price point, and considering the number of contaminated sites, if the VIM is used a 0.1% of the brownfield sites in the US, this is >$20 million opportunity. The Phase I project will resul in the design of a portable system that is free from the constraints of bottled carrier gas, which are require for all commercial gas chromatographs. This will make the system accessible to the multi billion remediation market and other industrial markets for process monitoring, waste water treatment, leak detection around storage tanks, and regulatory compliance.
This SBIR proposal describes a novel, low-cost product will be used for long-term monitoring of vapor intrusion near brownfields and Superfund sites. The system addresses needs as described by the NIEHS Hazardous Substances Detection and Remediation Program. The system replaces passive methods (sorbent tubes) and manned-active sampling and analysis methods by automating sample collection, detection, analysis, and data transmission using microsensor technology does not require pressurized gases, or continuous attention. The system will be small, easily portable, safe, and available at a price-point that significantly improves the quantity and quality of temporal data for vapor intrusion studies.
|Patel, Sanjay V; Tolley, William K (2014) Developments toward a low-cost approach for long-term, unattended vapor intrusion monitoring. Analyst 139:3770-80|