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MPCA: Minnesota's Largest Sealcoater Switches to Safer Formula

Contacts: Ralph Pribble (MPCA), 651-757-2657; Nick Kelso (Jet-Black), 952-212-0410
St. Paul, Minn. ― Coal-tar residues that can contaminate stormwater ponds may become a thing of the past thanks to a voluntary phase-out by Eagan-based Jet-Black International, one of the nation’s larger franchisers of pavement seal-coating services.
The company decided to voluntarily phase out coal-tar-based sealers late this winter in response to scientific data showing that coal-tar-based sealers are an important source of contamination to stormwater-collection systems in Minnesota. The switch to an asphalt-based formulation will help keep harmful chemicals out of Minnesota’s surface waters.
The phase-out calls for all 25 of Jet-Black's Minnesota franchises to voluntarily phase out coal-tar-based sealants in 2012, with a complete change to an asphalt emulsion sealant by the start of the 2013 season.
“Jet-Black stepped up and took action to phase out coal tar in their sealant,” MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen said. “When an industry leader embraces science-based recommendations like this, it really helps. Coal-tar-based sealants are a major source of contamination in storm-pond sediments, with potentially harmful impacts to the environment, human health, and the budgets of cities that own and maintain stormwater ponds.”
Jet-Black co-owner Nicholas Kelso said, “We were concerned that continued use of coal-tar sealants will lead to unsustainable and costly pond cleanups at the expense of the citizens of Minnesota. Studies show that phasing out coal-tar sealants will help reduce the cost of these cleanups, so Jet-Black and our Minnesota franchise owners believe this is the responsible thing to do.”
Kelso added, “Sealcoating itself is not the problem. It's the recipe that's important, and coal tar is being removed from Jet-Black formulations.”
Recent research shows that chemicals in coal-tar-based sealants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) accumulate in the sediments of stormwater ponds. The legislature in 2009 required Minnesota state agencies to stop using coal-tar formulations. Since then the MPCA has been working with cities and retailers to encourage switching to asphalt-based sealants, which contain much lower levels of PAHs compared to coal-tar formulations.
PAHs can be harmful to human health at sufficient concentrations, and some are classified as carcinogenic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Research by the United States Geological Survey, the MPCA, and other agencies has found that the chemicals wash off pavement treated with coal-tar sealants, and then accumulate in the sediments of stormwater ponds and wetlands. Cities must maintain stormwater ponds by dredging them, and if the PAH concentrations in the dredged material are high enough, disposal can be very costly. Some Minnesota cities have passed ordinances banning the use of coal-tar sealants.
Jet-Black has provided both coal-tar- and asphalt-based sealants to its franchise owners for years but after 2012 will provide only asphalt-based products. Jet-Black has 82 franchises in the United States.
“This company is one of the larger in the sealcoating business, so their switch to asphalt-based products represents a big step forward for protection of human health and the environment,” Aasen said.

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Anonymous said... March 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Jet Black is a franchise that sells and ships sealer to its franchisees in 5 gallon buckets, creating a great deal of waste in packaging and transport. Many companies are touting their "greeness" but primarily do it for PR. In my opinion they are a small player with respect to total gallons sold. I applaud them discontinuing the sale of coal tar, but business must look at the big picture. How many 5 gallon buckets do they add to landfills every year. How much extra fuel is wasted shipping buckets?

Anonymous said... June 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I agree with you, I don't understand why they don't sell their sealer in bulk to their franchisee's. All of us individually owned sealcoaters including me buy sealer 6,000 gallons at a time and store it in a bulk tank. We produce very little waste this way. And by the way, we also do not use coal tar sealers. But people have to remember that Jet Black produces more waste than a lot of sealcoating companies out there. Please look around at ALL of your local sealcoaters before you make your choice.

Anonymous said... July 18, 2013 at 5:11 PM

What's funny about this switch is that they own Black Dawg Seal Coat franchise and and they use coal tar. Fyi they don't sell sealer to their franchises. They buy their own. There isn't any secrete formula to the jet black sealer. Gem seal is the secrete forumual they use.

Jackson Willis said... November 20, 2014 at 11:36 PM

I have been thinking about sealcoating for a while now. I feel like my driveway could greatly benefit from it. I'm still learning about it, but so far everything I've learned has been pretty positive. I definitely think this will be something that I'll be moving forward with.
http://www.wekickasphalt.com/sealcoating-in-pittsburgh/

Coal Tar Free America said... November 21, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Funny this Jackson Willis spammer links to a page that uses coal tar sealers, yet describe their asphalt based sealer as an
"eco-friendly approach to blacktop maintenance and restoration, because they produce little to no hydrocarbon emissions, which are damaging environmental pollutants linked with water contamination and human illnesses."

Why would someone still sell a product which they admit causes 'water contamination' and 'human illnesses'?

 
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