Communication for vapor intrusion projects


Public meeting on vapor intrusionBuild partnerships. The community, residents, property owners, and local and state governments are all important partners on vapor intrusion projects.

Connect with partners early and stay connected throughout the project.

Communicate clearly. Be clear about what you do know and what you don't know, and what the process is for figuring out what needs to be known.

Listen and adjust. Pay attention to feelings—yours and others. Listen to what is being said, and just as importantly, listen for what is NOT being said. Pay attention to what is being communicated to you in writing.

Communication best practices


The basics

  • Use plain language.
  • Be accurate. Know the facts and the science.
  • Be honest and open. Acknowledge what you know and don’t know.
  • Let people know how they can get their questions answered.


  • Be comfortable communicating while there are still many unknowns.
  • Adapt your communication style to meet the needs of the person or audience.
  • Be spontaneous and open to change when needed.
  • Respect and honor feelings. All feelings are valid.
  • Hear and acknowledge all concerns.


  • Make a space for partners to participate.
  • Respect and honor everyone involved.
  • Be responsive and understand your role.
  • Show your commitment to the community and the project.
  • Follow through and be available.

Plain language handouts

Other resources

  • Vapor Intrusion 101 (WiDNR) — Using a hand-drawn/animation technique, this video introduces the concept of vapor intrusion to people who may be unfamiliar with it by showing the root cause, how it spreads underground, and what can be done about it.
  • The Responsible Neighbor: A Vapor Intrusion Story (WiDNR) — A video for consultants and responsible parties shows how good communication with neighbors benefits everyone involved with an environmental cleanup.