5/22 Webinar for Community Officials & Staff on Recently Identified Pollution Source
You are cordially invited to attend a free webinar on May 22 at 12:00 pm (EST) that highlights an emerging and serious pollution source that is costing communities hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs and is threatening the health of community members and the surrounding environment. This is an opportunity to learn about this pollution source and find straightforward solutions to prevent damage.
Recently, scientists have identified a common type of pavement sealcoat – coal tar sealcoat - as a major source of dangerous chemicals in streams and lakes adjacent to its application. Findings conclude that there is a significant health risk to the public, especially young children, who use and live by driveways, parking lots, and surfaces coated with the product. These chemicals, known as PAHs, are found in the sediments of nearby lakes and streams and in particles and dust from pavements coated with this type of product.
Please join us for a webinar on May 22 at 12:00 Eastern time to learn more about this product, the problems and costs it is causing communities and easy steps to curb future pollution problems. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Barbara Mahler, Research Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Division and leading researcher on coal-tar sealcoats. We will additionally be joined by Thomas J. Kaldunski, PE, City Engineer from the City of Inver Grove Heights, MN to discuss his experience with clean-up costs and other issues associated with coal tar sealcoats in his community.
To register for this free webinar, please contact Cheryl Kallio at Cheryl@freshwaterfuture.org or 231-571-5001.
Pavement sealants are coatings that get painted onto pavement as a "beautifying" or protective layer. Many sealants are made out of coal tar, a dangerous industrial waste. Coal tar sealants release enormous volumes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the environment. Children exposed to these sealants face elevated lifetime cancer risks orders of magnitude greater than their peers. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, coal tar sealants are responsible for PAH levels in aquatic ecosystems throughout much of the United States that are now well above ecotoxicity thresholds and rising.
Coal Tar Sealants Cause Billions in Damage to City Property: Coal tar sealants create expensive problems for local governments, school boards, public parks, waste treatment system operators, and municipal storm sewer system operators:
- Minnesota state officials estimate that sediment disposal damages in the Twin Cities area alone may exceed $1 billion.
- The Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie found that its cost to dispose of sediment from just three stormwater ponds increased by approximately $200,000 because of PAH contamination from coal tar pavement sealants.
- In 2009, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, estimated that it would cost more than $250,000 to safely dispose of PAH-contaminated sediment from three city-owned stormwater ponds.
- The Austin (Texas) Independent School District had to spend more than $115,000 to remove coal tar sealant from 7 children’s playgrounds. The school board also faces the future cost of removing coal tar from 60 school parking lots.
- The City of Austin spent over $1 million to treat soils contaminated with PAHs from just three parking lots.
- In Missouri, the City of Springfield’s environmental services engineers calculate that the cost of removing coal tar sealant contaminated sediments from the City’s detention basins could exceed $130 million.
Ultimately, these costs fall on citizens. Participants in the webinar will learn about options to mitigate the risks of coal tar sealant use. For example, alternative low-PAH or PAH-free sealant products are widely available at comparable prices.