Remediation Technology Summit

Emma Hong Luo

Environmental Hydrogeologist

Dr. Luo has worked as a subject matter expert (SME) on vapor intrusion and environmental forensics since 2012 for Chevron Energy Technology Company. She was a key researcher in three of the four well-known big-scale vapor intrusion field research studies (2 PVI and 1 CVI) in US when she was studying and working in Dr. Paul Johnson’s research lab in Arizona State University. She is the first to provide better understanding of the role of biodegradation of vapor phase PHCs and the spatial and temporal variability of soil gas and indoor air for PVI through field and 3-D transient modeling studies. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 journal articles and conference presentations. She also provides vital technical support to Chevron environmental company on forensic analysis and site assessment for sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons.

Dr. Hong Luo holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in US and B.S. , B.A. and M.S. from Tianjian University in China.


Indoor Air Source Identification Using Environmental Forensic Tools- A Case Study

Emma Hong Luo (Chevron Energy Technology Company)
Robert Ettinger (Geosyntec), David Patten (Chevron Environmental Management Company)
Natasha Molla (Chevron Environmental Management Company)

The presence of indoor air (IA) sources confounds the data interpretation in the vapor intrusion (VI) and remains one of the challenges in VI site assessment. Although a routine building survey is commonly utilized to help with the data interpretation, the usefulness of such survey is very limited in most petroleum vapor intrusion (PVI) cases due to the ubiquitous presence of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) in buildings. More sophisticated tools for indoor air source identification/screening may be necessary in some challenging cases. A case study is presented where environmental forensic tools were used to help assess the presence and contribution of indoor air sources to petroleum hydrocarbons detected in indoor air samples. In this case, concurrent IA and sub-slab soil gas were collected. The forensic tools used in this study included air-phase PIANO analysis for soil gas and indoor air samples and CSIA on benzene in the indoor air and soil gas. The results showed these forensic tools can show a clearer picture of how IA sources contribute to petroleum-related chemical concentrations detected in IA samples. This approach also may be used to more confidently screen out sites with potential indoor air inhalations risks that are largely due to contributions to IA sources rather than true VI. These forensic techniques can avoid unnecessary VI site assessment work or more expensive IA source screening tools.

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