Environmental Services

Environmental Services - Exposure and Risk Assessment - Versar, Inc.

Emerging Issues / Emerging Contaminants

Emerging issues and emerging contaminants represent significant risks to contaminated site owners, whether in the federal government or private sectors, throughout the world. Emerging Issues represent any chemical, material, or other concern with the potential to affect a site owner's ability to execute work, run a business, or achieve their mission. Emerging issues on remediation sites may have an impact on schedules, increase project costs, alter an existing technical approach with costly new add-ons, or necessitate new partnerships.

For example, the US EPA has identified vapor intrusion/vapor migration (VI/VM) as a significant emerging issue for contaminated property owners. Vapor intrusion is the migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated underground environments into overlying structures. The source of the chemicals is typically buried waste and/or contaminated groundwater, which are common problems across the country – no longer unique to industrial and manufacturing sites or military installations. Volatile underground chemicals migrate through the subsurface soils and into indoor air spaces of overlying buildings through cracks in foundations or buried pipes. The result is an indoor air quality problem with an inherent risk to human health because of exposure. The fact that EPA indicates that vapor intrusion alone may be cause to "re-open" environmental sites that have been previously closed is of concern to property owners. The assessment of VI/VM under new US EPA programmatic guidance may delay closure of sites where VI/VM has not been considered previously. Many individual states have followed suit with the development and implementation of regulations for VI/VM.

Versar VI/VM experts have substantial project experience using EPA's latest technical guidance to conduct site investigations and air quality testing, then unravel the maze of regulatory requirements, and help to manage your risk.

Emerging contaminants are an equally alarming consideration in site remediation projects. Emerging contaminants are chemicals or materials that may occur in surface water, groundwater, soil, sediments, or air – essentially any environmental media – representing a potential or real threat to human health and the environment. They may not be routinely monitored at environmental sites, are frequently present at very low concentrations, and are pervasive. The risks associated with human and ecological exposure (ingestion, dermal contact, inhalation) are generally known or suspected to be harmful. Often, regulatory guidance and proven remedial technologies for emerging contaminants are absent or lacking. Emerging contaminants represent future potential environmental liabilities.

Versar specialists have wide-ranging experience with a host of issues related to emerging contaminants, including 1,4-dioxane, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), hexavalent chromium, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), perchlorate, and dioxin, among others. Our remediation staff:

  • Tracks the development of regulations, anticipated remediation targets and objectives
  • Follows new and innovative remediation technology developments for these substances
  • Identifies and assesses exposure and toxicological risk concerns at your site

We can evaluate the cost and schedule impacts to site remediation associated with emerging contaminants as well as the new and ever-changing regulations that make achievement of site closeout increasingly difficult.