Jump to main content

Contact Us

EPA On-line Tools for Site Assessment Calculation

48 of 67

Screening Level Implementation of the Johnson and Ettinger Vapor Intrusion Model
with two variable/uncertain parameters (source depth, moisture content)

Forward Calculation of Indoor Air Concentration

Backward Calculation full uncertainty analysis

Migration of volatile chemicals from the subsurface into overlying buildings is called vapor intrusion (VI). Volatile organic chemicals in contaminated soils or groundwater can emit vapors, which may migrate through subsurface soils and may enter the indoor air of overlying buildings. Building depressurization may cause these vapors to enter the home through cracks in the foundation. Depressurization can be caused by a combination of wind effects and stack effects, which are the result of heating within the building and/or mechanical ventilation. In extreme cases, the vapors may accumulate in dwellings to levels that may pose near-term safety hazards, such as explosion. Typically, however, vapor concentrations are present at low levels, to which long-term exposure may pose increased risk for chronic health effects.

This on-line calculator implements the Johnson and Ettinger (J&E) (Johnson and Ettinger, 1991) simplified model to evaluate the vapor intrusion pathway into buildings. This J&E model replicates the implementation that the US EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) used in developing its draft vapor intrusion guidance, but includes a number of enhancements that are facilitated by web implementation: temperature dependence of Henry's Law Constants and gaseous diffusivities, automatic sensitivity analysis of certain parameters, and others described on the background page.

The results you obtain from this OnSite implementation of the Johnson and Ettinger model may differ from other versions of the Johnson & Ettinger Model. In addition to the OSWER implementation that was used for the draft vapor intrusion guidance, EPA Office of Emergency Response and Remediation (OERR) distributes a set of spreadsheet implementations of the model. The differences among these implementations is described in detail on the results page. Beyond these differences the on-line version includes a simplified uncertainty analysis the other implementations lack.

Enter Site Name (optional):
Enter sample concentration, units and media type
What is the depth of the soil gas sample or ground water table (for ground water contamination)?(LT)
This value can change by +/-
What is your contaminant of concern (COC)?
What type of building are you investigating at your site?
What type of soil is beneath the building?
What is the average soil/ground water temperature?
Chemical Properties
CAS Number
Molecular Weight (MW) [g/mole]
Henry's Law Constant at ground water temperature (H) [unitless]
Free-Air Diffusion Coefficient (Da) [cm2/s]
Diffusivity in Water (Dw) [cm2/s]
Unit Risk Factor (URF) [(μg/m3)-1]
Reference Concentration (RfC) [mg/m3]
Soil Properties
Total Porosity (n) [unitless]
Unsaturated Zone Moisture Content w) Low Best Estimate High [unitless]
Capillary Zone Moisture Content at Air-Entry Pressure w,cap) [unitless]
Height of Capillary Zone (CZh) [m]
Soil-gas Flow Rate Into the Building (Qsoil) [L/min]
Building Properties
Air Exchange Rate (EB) [hr-1]
Building Mixing Height (HB) [m]
Building Footprint Area (FB) [m2]
Subsurface Foundation Area (AB) [m2]
Building Crack Ratio (η) [unitless]
Building Foundation Slab Thickness (Lcrack) [m]
Exposure Parameters
Exposure Duration for Carcinogens (EDc) [years]
Exposure Frequency for Carcinogens (EFc) [days/year]
Averaging Time for Carcinogens (ATc) [years]
Exposure Duration for Non-Carcinogens (EDnc) [years]
Exposure Frequency for Non-Carcinogens (EFnc) [days/year]
Averaging Time for Non-Carcinogens (ATnc) [years]
Unsaturated Zone Effective Diffusion Coefficient (Deff) [cm2/s]
Unsaturated + Capillary Zone Effective Diffusion Coefficient (DT eff) [cm2/s]
"A" Parameter
"B" Parameter
"C" Parameter
Johnson & Ettinger Attenuation Factor (α)
Low Prediction1 Best Estimate High Prediction2
Indoor Air Concentration [μg/m3] [ppbv] [μg/m3] [ppbv] [μg/m3] [ppbv]
Cancer Risk
Hazard Quotient

1 "Low Prediction" concentration produced with moisture content and depth to contamination.
2 "High Prediction" concentration produced with moisture content and depth to contamination.

What do these results mean?

Comments or suggestions

Top ^
Home | Glossary | Notation | Links | References | Calculators

Contact Jim Weaver to ask a technical question on this material.

Jump to main content.