Case study highlights:
- Quick service retail restaurant required an effective preemptive vapor mitigation solution to protect future employees and customers from potential vapor intrusion risks
- The project development team determined Nitra-Seal was the safest, most expedient and cost-effective vapor barrier system to install on this site
- Land Science Certified Applicator S&H Waterproofing and Construction, installed Nitra-Seal and performed smoke testing as part of the quality control process to confirm proper installation of the barrier
This project development site is a newly opened quick-service restaurant in Conyers, Georgia. Offsite chemical spills from historical operations had resulted in low-level volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released to the subsurface, creating a potential for vapors to intrude into new buildings constructed in the affected area. Recognizing the risk and placing emphasis on future workers’ safety, the forward-thinking client decided that a preemptive measure be instituted, requiring the installation of a vapor mitigation system as part of the construction specification.
When Torin Snyder isn’t swimming or being dance-dad extraordinaire, he can be found pursuing another lifelong passion – finding effective, creative solutions to complex environmental issues. Snyder is a principal at Rincon Consultants, Inc., a leading California-based environmental consulting firm and valued Land Science client. His career path was no surprise to him, as Snyder recalls his interest in the environmental sciences blossoming during his university days. When he began to explore the field as a potential career path, he soon realized environmental site assessment and mitigation would provide the ideal avenue to satisfy his curiosity.
“I have always been fascinated in environmental sciences, but I found early on, and still find, that environmental mitigation is especially interesting because it is always evolving with emerging chemicals, new clean-up goals, and new technologies,” Snyder says of the field. “This industry offers an opportunity to introduce innovative options to clients, enabling them to achieve their overall project goals and expectations, and it lets me learn and think outside the box.” Snyder joined Rincon in 2010 as a senior hydrogeologist and was promoted to principal in 2018. Prior to joining Rincon, he served as a project manager in the hydrogeology department for an environmental planning company.
To prepare for his career in environmental mitigation, in 1999 Snyder earned his BS in Soil Science, with a Hydrology concentration, from California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo. “After-graduation, I focused on getting the certifications and licenses relevant to the environmental consulting industry. First, I became a Certified Professional Soil Scientist, then a Registered Environmental Assessor, then a Deputy Methane Building Inspector for the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. Later, I became a Professional Geologist, Qualified SWPPP Developer/Practitioner, Certified Hydrogeologist, and finally a Trainer of Record for the Qualified SWPPP Developer/Practitioner program. Sometimes people tease me for having so many initials behind my name.”
As a Principal for Rincon’s statewide Environmental Site Assessment and Remediation practice, Snyder is responsible for business development, client management, technical and quality control, and staff mentoring and development. He says of his many roles at the firm, “I provide leadership for the Environmental Site Assessment and Remediation group, and I support the Environmental Sciences and Land Use Planning group and Natural and Cultural Resource team at Rincon. The diverse clients and projects keep me engaged, while giving me new challenges to meet, which I enjoy very much.”
To stay abreast of new technologies and emerging trends, Snyder keeps up with seminars, conferences, and training programs for the field. “Our industry is always evolving,” he says. “So, education and training are critical to remain current with new solutions our clients expect and deserve. It seems there’s always a new or better way to complete a project.” With his diverse background, responsibilities and commitment to staying current in the industry, Snyder does his part to help Rincon achieve its long-term goal of “offering clients the best services, best products, and best people in our field.”
When it comes to working with Land Science, Snyder appreciates the company’s wide range of technologies. “Land Science has done a good job providing alternative products to solve vapor intrusion challenges. There are many solutions available, but few are as effective as those Land Science offers.” He goes on to say that “finding a product that is cost-competitive and that protects the occupants of the building is the most important consideration. Land Science offers multiple products for different applications, which is critical. For example, our clients like the protection that MonoShield™ offers for low-risk vapor intrusion sites and they appreciate that the product is cost-effective compared to most other vapor barriers.” Recently, Snyder has recommended MonoShield™ for a number of projects Rincon has tackled that included low-risk vapor intrusion concerns for low-income housing projects.
Residing in Carlsbad, California with his wife and two daughters, Snyder works out of the Rincon office there. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, with mountain biking, open-water swimming, and off-road triathlons (Xterra) topping his list of favorite activities. He likes them so much he participates in mountain bike and open water swim racing. “I’m a fairly competitive guy so I love to sign up for races,” he shares. “One of my favorite race experiences was when I competed in the Xterra Off-Road World Championship in Maui in 2018.” He also finds time to volunteer as an Advisory Council Member for the Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he points to the collaborative nature of working with co-workers and clients. “I also take satisfaction in providing a client an out-of-the- box solution for their specific problem.” And the most demanding aspect of his job? “Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic. This has changed our day to day routine and requires us to be nimble and adaptive to the new norm.” He also feels the trend of emerging chemicals, evolving clean-up goals, and discovering new solutions to help solve remedial challenges is here to stay- at least for some time. He continues, “As regulations become tighter, consultants will be forced to reconsider how a project is scoped and completed. For example, as clean up goals become more conservative, it may not be economically feasible to remediate a site the same way we did 10 years ago. Therefore, interim mitigation measures, like vapor barriers, sealing concrete floors, and HVAC modifications, need to be considered to reduce the time a building may sit unoccupied during remedial activities when there are indoor air concerns.”
And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “I would not necessarily use the word “encourage.” Finding your passion is the most important aspect to a rewarding, challenging, and successful career. So, I feel it’s critical for people who might be interested in this field to first understand their own passion- what makes them tick. Once this is understood, the path to a fulfilling and successful career path can be tailored to an individual.”
Land Science is proud to have Torin Snyder, Principal at Rincon Consultants, Inc., as a valued client and partner, and appreciates his highly diverse background and approach in providing successful vapor intrusion mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Nitra-Seal protects future restaurant workers and guests
- Former Gas Station
Property developers for a national restaurant chain planned a new restaurant building on an old gas station in Galveston, Texas. It is common practice in the retail restaurant industry that when confronted with building a restaurant on a former gas station, the property developers will specify a vapor mitigation system (VMS) into the construction plan. The VMS serves as a preemptive measure to address gasoline contaminants that might have escaped detection during the site closure process. In these instances, the property developers require that the vapor mitigation system installation be completed efficiently and at a competitive cost while providing comparable or better chemical resistance. After evaluating VMS options, the property development team specified Nitra-Seal as the technology best suited for this purpose. According to the Land Science certified applicator, in comparing their experience installing generic styrene-butadiene-rubber asphalt emulsions, Nitra-Seal’s spray-applied nitrile-advanced asphalt latex core material was easier to apply and cured more rapidly. This saved time and money for the VMS installation, improving the project’s overall construction efficiency, and enabling the restaurant to proceed toward its opening.
Project snapshot highlights:
- New Office Campus in Pennsylvania
- Site-Specific Design for Unique Foundation Layout
- 16,000 Square Feet Installed
An established, construction services company was developing a new corporate campus on a former industrial manufacturing site where chemical degreasing agents were used. Prior to the building’s planned construction, an investigation was conducted, identifying chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the subsurface. Based on the investigation results, the project stakeholders specified the installation of a vapor mitigation system to address the potential VOC vapor intrusion risk to future building occupants. The consultant and their client were familiar with Land Science’s full suite of vapor barrier systems and had installed their vapor mitigation technologies at other building sites in the past. The team specified Nitra-Seal® for this project based on its top-performing chemical resistance and installation efficiencies compared to other spray-applied barrier systems considered. The building’s unique foundation layout required a nuanced approach and site-specific design support from the Land Science team. The Land Science Certified Applicator installed the Nitra-Seal vapor mitigation system efficiently and according to specifications, allowing the new office campus construction to proceed without delay.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Petroleum Hydrocarbon Vapor Contaminants Effectively Mitigated
- Solution Chosen Based on Best Combination of Chemical Resistance,Installation Efficiency and Price
An expanding quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain planned a new store in the rapidly growing central Texas market at a former gasoline station site. Although there was no active environmental incident associated with past use, it is common for petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) to remain in the subsurface, undiscovered at former gas station sites. Using their knowledge and experience in developing similar properties, the QSR client recognized the potential risk of petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) vapor intrusion. To ensure their future associates’ and guests’ well-being, the QSR client specified installing the Nitra-Seal® vapor mitigation system as a preemptive measure to protect against PHC vapor intrusion. They chose Nitra-Seal because it provided the best combination of chemical resistance, installation efficiency and price compared to other similarly priced vapor barrier systems. The Land Science certified applicator completed the installation according to manufacturer recommendations within aggressive time and budget constraints, allowing the restaurant to proceed toward its scheduled opening in the Fall of 2020.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Hotel Brand Expansion Into New Market
- TerraShield Protects Guests and Employees at Hotel
- 20,000+ Square Feet Installed
A leading hotel brand breaks ground on a new residential-styled suite hotel in an expanding commercial district in Ohio. The first of its kind in the state, the brownfield site required a safe and effective vapor barrier system to mitigate soil gas vapor contaminants from former industrial activities in the area, including spilled chlorinated solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons. The environmental consultant proposed installing a TerraShield® vapor barrier system to eliminate the potential exposure risk of building staff and guests to these vapors. The project development team agreed TerraShield afforded the best available technology to address vapor intrusion in a structure with numerous penetrations and terminations. In addition to providing superior chemical resistance, TerraShield does not require taped seams which markedly improves the installation efficiency. The Land Science certified applicator installed TerraShield successfully, maintaining the schedule and allowing the hotel to proceed toward its grand opening.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Future Tenants Protected From Chlorinated Solvents
- Land Science Offers Site-Specific Design Support
- 38,000 Square Feet Installed
The project site is a modern, climate-controlled self-storage facility that includes all-in-one moving, packing, and storage services for its customers. The building was developed on a former industrial brownfield at the site of a former factory. As part of Maryland’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, the environmental consultant completed a Phase II investigation, finding elevated chlorinated solvent contaminants in the soil gas. The Maryland Department of Environment required the installation of a vapor mitigation system over a portion of the building. However, in working with the consultant, it was ultimately determined that a vapor barrier spanning the entire building footprint would be necessary to protect the future building tenants fully. Based on chlorinated solvent concentrations, TerraShield® was specified to provide the highest level of chemical resistance and long-term barrier performance available on the market. The project required active venting and a site-specific design, leveraging Land Science’s vapor barrier design expertise. Additionally, the TerraShield vapor mitigation system included an extended material warranty to provide the project stakeholders added assurance that building occupants would be protected long into the future.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Former Dry Cleaning Operations Transformed Into Safe Retail Storefront Property
- TerraShield with Retro-Coat Complete Remediation Efforts
- First Installation in Los Angeles County
The first TerraShield installation completed in Los Angeles County is a former dry cleaning site redeveloped to make way for a retail storefront. Chlorinated solvents and benzene were present in the subsurface left by past site activities requiring ongoing active remediation over a several year period. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board oversaw the site remediation efforts, which included soil excavation and operation of a soil vapor extraction system to remove the majority of the contaminants. Although these efforts effectively removed most of the contamination, lower concentrations remained in the soil gas, prompting the need for a vapor mitigation solution. The environmental consultant and their client chose TerraShield® to provide the maximum protection available to protect future retail tenants from potential exposure to harmful chlorinated solvent and benzene vapors. TerraShield was installed at grade, terminating at a concrete slab in the building that remained following soil excavation activities. Retro-Coat™, a chemical-resistant surface coating effective in mitigating vapor intrusion, was also applied to the existing concrete slab and used as a finished floor surface.
Project snapshot highlights:
- Brownfield Redevelopment Tuscaloosa Waterfront
- Former Landfill Resulting in Mix of Soil Gases
- 18,000 Square Feet Installed
A brownfield redevelopment project included construction of a new hotel near Tuscaloosa’s Riverfront. The project increases room capacity for the city, allowing it to draw in more tourism from sporting and business events. The project site was once a former landfill resulting in a mix of soil gas vapors containing chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons and methane. In order to prevent vapor intrusion into the new building, the certified applicators installed over 18,000 square feet of TerraShield®, in conjunction with an active venting system. Based on the range of contaminants and various concentrations exceeding regulatory screening levels, the TerraShield vapor barrier offered the highest level of protection against VI, as well as long term assurance that occupants would be protected should the active system ever shut off. Coupling the TerraShield barrier with active venting enabled this brownfield property to be converted into productive use for the city.