In 2022, the former Mary H. Wright Elementary School in Spartanburg, SC, was transformed into the Schoolhouse Lofts. Comprising 53 one and two bedroom apartments with 20% reserved for affordable housing, this redeveloped community also includes a swimming pool, fitness center, dog park, and a new trail connection to the city’s Mary Wright Greenway.

The school was built in 1951, and it originally included an underground storage tank (UST) for heating oil. The building was also situated down gradient from a former dry cleaner, so before construction began, the indoor air had to be tested for safety. Groundwater testing revealed minor petroleum and chlorinated solvents at low levels, but initial indoor air testing revealed elevated levels of petroleum and minor levels of PCE in one sample. Multiple rounds of indoor air testing confirmed that indoor PCE levels were acceptable, but the petroleum levels remained elevated.

According to Kenneth Lauber, PG, of American Environmental Consulting Services, LLC, the UST was no longer present under the building, and the former tankhold tested negative for petroleum contaminants. The source of the contamination was more complicated and unique: During construction in the 1950s, the concrete floor slab had to be sealed with a tar-based waterproofing product, which was making the indoor air just above regulatory screening thresholds.

The team looked to EPRO’s Geo-Seal EFC to contain the vapors. As an added benefit, the product could be applied directly onto the top of the concrete.

Application of Geo-Seal EFC Primer and Gel.

Geo-Seal EFC provides a cost-effective alternative to other coatings designed to mitigate vapor intrusion. It is a complete coating system specifically developed to mitigate vapor intrusion into existing structures. Geo-Seal EFC is also designed to be a finished flooring system for commercial and industrial uses. Additional flooring options, such as carpet or vinyl flooring can be installed over the system. As an added benefit, the product has no VOCs.

After application, Lauber says, no further testing was required as the regulator was very confident in the product.

The Schoolhouse Lofts were subsequently completed, and the grand opening occurred September 29, 2022. The EPRO applicator was Schettini Floor Solutions, and American Environmental Consulting Services, LLC provided environmental consultation.