For Patrick Lowery, Sr. Environmental Manager with SUMMIT Engineering, Laboratory & Testing, Inc., a multi-disciplinary environmental consulting firm and valued Land Science® client, a career in environmental remediation was sparked by an interest in geology, a field his grandfather worked in. Lowery initially planned to follow his grandfather’s path and become a geologist, but then realized his true passion involved assisting in the cleanup of our planet. He shares, “My grandfather was a geologist for Shell Oil in the Permian Basin, near Midland Texas. Throughout college my focus was to work in the petroleum industry. I took a year off from school after earning my Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Alabama and was going to attend Colorado State University for my Masters in Geophysics, however, while working with a consulting geologist that year I found I enjoyed the environmental field.”
Featured Video: Nitra-Seal Applied as Preemptive Vapor Mitigation Solution for Town Hall and Library Complex
A growing community near Charlotte, North Carolina was seeking a site to construct a new town hall and public library complex. The city planners had identified a land parcel that would meet the spatial requirements for the new complex, but the site was a former gasoline service station which operated on a portion of the land for nearly two decades. As part of the City’s due diligence, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was completed and revealed the underground storage tank (UST) system was decommissioned in 1991 with the tanks abandoned in place. However, no records existed which documented environmental conditions at the time of UST removal. Consequently, the USTs were listed as a recognized environmental concern (REC) in the Phase I ESA. In early 2020, a geotechnical investigation identified soil with odors and elevated photoionization detector (PID) readings, a further indication of petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) contamination in the subsurface.
Introducing a New Advanced Nitrile Composite Vapor Barrier System
Nitra-Seal is an update/improvement on current vapor barrier systems. Originally, passive vapor barrier systems were waterproofing systems adapted for use as contaminant vapor barriers. An acknowledged weakness in these systems is in the penetration and perimeter termination locations, where spray-applied core material composed of Styrene-Butadiene (SBR)- modified asphalt is used. While excellent at repelling water, aggressive chemicals such as petroleum solvents and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), will permeate into the SBR-modified asphalt at a relatively high rate particularly in sensitive areas of the building construction such as barrier seams, slab penetrations and perimeters. Nitra-Seal offers a substantial upgrade as it employs a more chemically resistant nitrile latex instead of the more susceptible SBR material. Nitrile is recognized throughout the environmental engineering industry as being more chemically resistant than rubber or SBR and is often used in personal protective equipment when working on hazardous waste sites (e.g. nitrile gloves).
Nitra-Seal is a composite system creating the ideal blend between constructability and chemical resistance by using both high density polyethylene (HDPE) and nitrile-advanced, spray-applied asphalt core.