Five Things I Learned at Today’s EDR Insight Webinar on Vapor Intrusion

Today I moderated a live EDR Insight webinar on vapor intrusion risk, titled Sorting Out the Implications of U.S. EPA VI Guidance.  So much has been happening on the vapor front that we brought in the “big guns” to give everyone a run-down of what these developments mean for today’s real estate deals. More than 1,000 attendees tuned in from across the country to hear from our 4 speakers:

David Gillay, an attorney at Barnes & Thornburg—and also a former environmental professional

Blayne Hartman, a charismatic and nationally recognized expert on soil vapor sampling, soil vapor analysis, and vapor intrusion.

Craig Brown and Brad Willy who tag teamed from TerraVapor,  a vapor mitigation system technology firm.

Here’s my list of the five key things I learned from today’s webinar:

1. Vapor risk is harder to ignore than ever.

      • The U.S. EPA just closed the public comment period on draft federal VI guidance.
      • States like IL are amending risk based cleanup rules to include the VI exposure pathway.

“No longer can VI be ignored, delayed or downplayed. Plenty of attorneys are out there arguing that vapor should have always been part of a CERCLA-driven Phase I ESA. (Gillay)”

2. 177 comments were submitted on the U.S. EPA’s draft VI guidance.

    • Most were out of concern that the VI screening levels are ‘overly conservative’ and will likely screen in most (or all) sites with VOCs

3. More stringent standards are likely under the federal guidance.

    • Not all states will follow the U.S. EPA’s lead. Illinois and Arizona are two states that are ignoring certain components of the EPA guidance.
    • Variable regulatory guidance at the federal and state level makes vapor assessments “tricky and slow.” (Hartman)

4. Monitoring is a key part of long term stewardship in EPA’s draft guidance. (TerraVapor).

    • EPA’s new Dec. 2012 institutional control guides should be part of designing long term stewardship or institutional control plans to manage residual COCs and potential future risks.

5. Vapor doesn’t have to kill deals.

    • There are cost-effective options for managing VI risk.
    • Systems allow for real-time, continuous monitoring of properties for “VI events” remotely so that property owners can be proactive without alarming tenants.

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If you missed it, a replay to today’s webinar, including a look at speakers’ slides can be found here.

And, for the live twitter feed from @EDRInsight.

Special thanks from EDR to David, Blayne, Craig and Brad for contributing their time and expertise to today’s event!