Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vapor Intrusion Testing Set to Begin at Former Manufacturing Site in Horicon, Wisconsin

by Duane Craig
Vapor Intrusion is coming to Horicon WI
Wherever metal is used in manufacturing it has to be cleaned and trichloroethylene (TCE) has long been the cleaner of choice. A former Gardner Manufacturing site in Horicon, Wisconsin, has inspired testing for vapor intrusion in several buildings nearby. Test wells discovered the TCE contamination and confirmed it was moving toward the nearby Rock River.

Vapor Intrusion Plan

The plan is to bore small holes into building foundations and monitor the vapors that rise through them to see if there are detectable levels of TCE below the foundations that could cause vapor intrusion of the chemical. When it is found the answer is to install a radon mitigation system that pulls the air from beneath the building into a pipe where it is vented to the outside.

Gardner invented the Bug Zapper in 1937 by combining a number of acquired products, but it also produced barn equipment and sheet metal products, and all that metal needed to be cleaned. Besides being used for cleaning metal, TCE is used as a solvent in blending products such as varnish, lubricants and pesticides. It is also used in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), flame retardants, insecticides and pharmaceuticals. Up until 1977 it was used as an anesthetic, disinfectant for skin wounds, pet food additive and in the making of decaffeinated coffee.

With such a wide range of uses it should be no surprise that TCE is very present in the environment and is widely found at Superfund sites. Fortunately its half life in the air renders it inert after about 7 days.

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