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A Petroleum Vapor Intrusion Model Involving Upward Advective Soil Gas Flow Due to Methane Generation

Yao, Yijun, Wu, Yun, Wang, Yue, Verginelli, Iason, Zeng, Tian, Suuberg, Eric M., Jiang, Lin, Wen, Yuezhong, Ma, Jie
Environmental Science & Technology 2015 v.49 no.19 pp. 11577-11585
advection, air, biodegradation, mathematical models, methane, methane production, oxygen, petroleum, risk, soil air, vapors
At petroleum vapor intrusion (PVI) sites at which there is significant methane generation, upward advective soil gas transport may be observed. To evaluate the health and explosion risks that may exist under such scenarios, a one-dimensional analytical model describing these processes is introduced in this study. This new model accounts for both advective and diffusive transport in soil gas and couples this with a piecewise first-order aerobic biodegradation model, limited by oxygen availability. The predicted results from the new model are shown to be in good agreement with the simulation results obtained from a three-dimensional numerical model. These results suggest that this analytical model is suitable for describing cases involving open ground surface beyond the foundation edge, serving as the primary oxygen source. This new analytical model indicates that the major contribution of upward advection to indoor air concentration could be limited to the increase of soil gas entry rate, since the oxygen in soil might already be depleted owing to the associated high methane source vapor concentration.