Superfund: Groups Urge EPA to Release Draft Guidance on Vapor Intrusion for Public Comment

December 11, 2012 – In The News
The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.

Several organizations representing industry have called on the environmental Protection Agency to release its most current draft of vapor intrusion guidance for formal public comment before it is finalized.

“Too much work has gone into the generation of this guidance for it to be issued without the final additional step of open public comment and dialogue on an actual draft – like the one we have been fortunate to see,” the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP said in comments submitted December 6 to EPA. The firm represents manufacturers and landowners.

EPA has sent the draft to regional offices and others for review, but it was not released to the public. One of the guidance documents was criticized by regulators and industry for being too conservative and different from what EPA had previously indicated it would release.

The other guidance document pertains to all other sites where vapor intrusion might be a problem and appears to be ready for imminent release by EPA, Fox Rothschild said. “Our sincere hope is that this draft (or something like it) will be released as a draft for formal public comment, and not as final guidance,” the law firm said.

The draft document contains language and requirements “we believe will generate unnecessary fear or even leave reasonable and through investigations subject to criticisms that more work could or should have been done,” Fox Rothschild said.

In the last draft released in 2002 Vapor intrusion refers to the upward migration of volatile chemicals from underground soil and water into overlying buildings. EPA last released the vapor intrusion guidance for public comment in 2002 (231 DEN A-1, 12/2/02)..

“We can confirm from the leaked November 7, 2012 draft that the 2002 draft has not been updated, it has been completely rewritten,” the firm said.