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When Popular Isn't Good Enough

Ah the accolades of peers! ....the adoration of the masses! Sometimes it just isn't good enough! Don't get me wrong. I'm n...

Ah the accolades of peers! ....the adoration of the masses!

Sometimes it just isn't good enough!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this is the status of this site, by any means.

However about two months ago, Stormwater Magazine published a story about the decline of PAHs in Austin, Texas since the ban of coal tar pavement sealers there in 2005. This, in and of itself, is tremendously big news as we have covered elsewhere on this site (Austin Now a Million Pounds Lighter, Austin Emerging from Coal Tar Stupor, and Doggett: USGS Study a Wake Up Call for America).

Stormwater Magazine's story is currently ranked among the top 5 most popular articles on their site over the last two months. One may fairly accurately surmise that this is unique, never-heard-before-news to the stormwater professional and they recognize it as such. It really isn't much more than the USGS announcement. So what's the problem?

We need more than just stormwater professionals to be informed and interested. Instead we need more stormwater professionals to speak their minds in the public arena rather than waiting to see which way the political winds will blow. At a minimum, offer coal tar sealer bans like a chef's special at a restaurant: highly recommended, but not mandatory.

Sometimes this happens with positive results: like the senior engineer in the District of Columbia's Department of the Environment who first suggested a ban of coal tar pavement sealers there or the one who wrote it in the stormwater master plan for the Village of Winnetka. I would suggest that in nearly all cases someone was willing to step out of the business-as-usual flow and let their opinion be heard.

I have also seen that owning an opinion and expressing it on this topic, as kindly as possible, can be a detriment to one's career. But let me say that those brave professionals would tell you that the satisfaction of professional integrity is worth more than any relatively meager career advancement!





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Coal Tar Free America: When Popular Isn't Good Enough
When Popular Isn't Good Enough
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Coal Tar Free America
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