Vapour Intrusion Mitigation in Calgary Area

Effective systems to remove hazardous vapour from your soil

Common VOCs

  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Tetrachloroethene (PCE)
  • Trichloroethene (TCE)
  • Methylene chloride
  • Gasoline derivatives such as benzene

Environmental soil pollution can enter buildings and homes through a process called vapour intrusion. Vapour intrusion is the migration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have high vapour pressure and low water solubility. They can be present in contaminated soils or groundwater.

Volatile organic compounds are produced and used in the manufacture of fuels, paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. VOCs are also present in industrial solvents, paint thinners, tetrachorethene (TCE, which is dry cleaning fluid), fuel, oxygenates (MTBE), or chlorination in water treatment systems.

When these contaminants are present in the soil there is potential for vapour migration through the surface soils into surrounding buildings, thus potentially impacting the indoor air quality and posing a health risk to the building inhabitants. This exposure is receiving increased attention by regulators, in many states and represents a significant liability risk for building owners in an evolving regulatory climate.

Unlike radon gas, which occurs naturally, the hazardous elements mentioned above are man made. They enter the soil because of accidents or industrial activities. When buildings are constructed near or on top of contaminated soil, there's a risk of hazardous vapour intrusion.

If you're concerned about vapour intrusion, Doug Lacey's Basement Systems can help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide you with quality vapour intrusion testing and mitigation. We offer free estimates in Lethbridge, Calgary, Medicine Hat and nearby.

Health Canada provides vapour intrusion guidance

Since hazardous vapour intrusion into buildings is often associated with soil contamination, Health Canada has done considerable research in this area. They provide basic information about vapour intrusion as well as detailed guidance for vapour intrusion mitigation (also called soil vapour extraction). This vapour intrusion guidance is important for all people throughout Canada to accept and use to take action.

The most common solution is to install systems often used to reduce naturally occurring radon that seeps into homes in some geographic areas. These systems, called radon mitigation systems, remove soil vapours from below basements or foundations before they enter homes.

Our vapour intrusion mitigation techniques

As your local National Radon Defense Contractor, we can provide you with several quality soil vapour extraction options, including:

  • Sub-Slab Depressurization (SSD): SSD is widely considered the most practical vapour intrusion mitigation strategy for existing and new structures. Health Canada defines SSD technology as "a method that involves installing a pipe through the foundation floor slab and attaching a fan that runs continuously to draw the radon gas from below the home and release it into the outdoors where it is quickly diluted." Thus, even if there are holes, cracks, or other pathways between the building and the subsurface, vapours flow downward, not upward. Thus, a well-designed depressurization system prevents any toxic vapours from intruding above.
  • Sump Pit Depressurization System (SPD): The sump pump cock is used as the suction pit. PVC pipe is run to the location of the fan. The fan is applying a vacuum to the sump pump pit and vapour can be collected and discharged outside. If you have a high water table in the ground this could be a good option for you.
  • Sub-membrane depressurization systems: These systems are similar to sub-slab systems, but they are applied to buildings with crawlspaces, where there is either no slab or a partial slab. A vapour barrier (i.e., membrane) that is impermeable to gases is placed under the floor or directly on the soil, and one or more suction pits are placed beneath the membrane. Like subslab systems, they create a negative pressure under the building so vapours do not get sucked up into the building with lower pressure than the subsurface.
  • Pressure field extension testing: A soil communication test, or PFE (pressure field extension) test, is a diagnostic test frequently used in radon and soil vapour extraction. This test requires a micromanometer and several pilot holes in the slab to determine how easily air can move under the foundation. This is also used after installation to determine the effectiveness of the system.

We can also install vapour pins for diagnostics and annual maintenance. The vapour pin is a reusable sub-slab soil gas sampling device. The vapour pin is constructed of a single piece of metal. This single piece design along with the silicon sleeve eliminates potential leak points. It is installed to provide a sealable measurement point for annual maintenance of the system.

sub-slab depressurization

Sub-slab depressurization system

crawl space membrane depressurization

Crawl space membrane depressurization

Get complete vapour intrusion mitigation in your home

Doug Lacey's Basement Systems is proud to be a member of the international National Radon Defense network, which has worked with Environmental Engineering firms all over North America in installing vapour Intrusion Mitigation Systems. We understand the importance of sealing, depressurizing, and communicating all the entry points of the vapour intrusion.

For an environmental cleanup project of this nature, we understand you need a company with experience to get the job done right. We are your trusted local experts for soil vapour extraction and indoor air quality services, so call us today to get started! We offer free estimates in Airdrie, Okotoks, Cochrane, Chestermere, Brooks, High River, Strathmore and throughout Greater Calgary.

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Our Locations:

Doug Lacey's Basement Systems
5711 80 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2C 4S6
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