Abstract for: Simulating Fate and Transport of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) inside Sewer Systems

Hazardous waste site investigations have shown that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be transported in sewer pipes and migrate into indoor spaces through plumbing fixtures. Particularly important is the transport of trichloroethylene (TCE) vapors from sewers to indoor air spaces because of TCE toxicity and low indoor air health-based risk criteria. Despite field data confirming the presence of this exposure pathway, there is a lack available information to systematically describe the fate and transport of VOCs through sewer systems, and this poses a challenge when assessing and mitigating risks associated with this exposure pathway. To address this scientific gap, the current work seeks to develop a system dynamics model to predict the concentration of VOCs in sewer gas, which have been shown to serve as a “source” of VOCs indoor air. Since every sewer system has a unique set of conditions, the model allows various input parameters, including temperature, sewer liquid depth, groundwater depth, and sewer construction characteristics. preliminary results have been verified using field data for a sewer system near a Superfund site in California. Further model expansion and analysis are underway to provide insights about how site assessment and mitigation approaches can be improved.