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US EPA Releases New Info on Coal Tar Sealant Pollution

The USEPA just released a new publication on their website with the above title. It is intended to assist communities in "Good Hous...


The USEPA just released a new publication on their website with the above title. It is intended to assist communities in "Good Housekeeping" efforts within their local stormwater permits.

This is the fourth public acknowledgement of this issue in the last few years. They are:
  • A web page by the CADDIS section of the USEPA (Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System) which was developed to help scientists and engineers conduct causal assessments in aquatic systems. This came out in September 2010, which was covered by this site's second post here
  • In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency completed their runoff report as was promised to Congressman Lloyd Doggett 2 years prior. The official title is Assessment of Water Quality of Runoff from Sealed Asphalt Surfaces, but perhaps a more appropriate title would be: "An Assessment of PAH Pollution Potential from Pavement Sealants During the Curing Process." Important findings were: 
  • Runoff from a coal tar sealed surface is about 100 times more potent in PAHs than asphalt based sealant. 
  • Choosing to ban coal tar sealants may be the most cost-effective way for communities to deal with the pollution impacts of this product. A full review of this study can be found here
  • EPA’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Webinar Series entitled: Stormwater, Coal-Tar Sealcoat, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). This seminar in June of 2012 brought together key researchers from the USGS, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire and the City of Austin. The EPA was silent on any opinion on this topic. The seminar presentations as well as audio and written transcripts of the seminar are available here
  • New Stormwater Best Management Practice: Coal-Tar Sealcoat, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Stormwater Pollution. The one-page info sheet summarizes the issue and what some have done about it. While we are all excited that the EPA has seen that this is important enough for another publication, it falls short it two important areas. First it is silent with respect to alternative sealant products and second, it fails to make any kind of statement regarding the validity of bans. 

We look forward to more definitive statements from the EPA on this topic in the future!

Coal-Tar Sealcoats and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

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Coal Tar Free America: US EPA Releases New Info on Coal Tar Sealant Pollution
US EPA Releases New Info on Coal Tar Sealant Pollution
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Coal Tar Free America
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