Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly G. Pennell


Vapor Intrusion (VI) is a transport phenomenon that occurs when contaminants migrate from sub-surface sources into indoor spaces. Sewer tunnels, plumbing connections, and piping infrastructures can be important contributors to an increased potential of VI in a site, which results in indoor concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOC). In the present work, the topic of sewer VI pathways were investigated through a prototype made from various types of indoor plumbing pipe fittings. This prototype simulates indoor piping systems and determine whether air and VOC were escaping through the pipe fittings. Moreover, this study is the first effort to use a high-performance gas analyzer, also known as AROMA-VOC, for detection of VOCs within parts-per-billion (ppb) and parts-per-trillion (ppt) ranges. To better understand the intensity and sensitivity of the analyzer, eight calibration curves with high r-squared values were generated. Additionally, pressure and concentration drop experiments were conducted on the prototype and the gas analyzer was used to measure VOCs concentrations in the prototype. The data from pressure drop experiments indicated that air was escaping from the prototype when it was pressurized to 2.701psi. Detectable concentrations of VOCs escaped from the prototype during experiments. The results also illustrated how indoor plumbing pipe fittings can be a contributor to indoor air concentrations as part of the sewer VI pathway.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation #1452800 (2015-2021), from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Grant Number P42ES007380, University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center (2020-2025). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation.