The Front Porch Blog, with Updates from AppalachiaThe Front Porch Blog, with Updates from Appalachia

Boone Limits Coal Tar Sealants- Fish and River Lovers Celebrate

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 | Posted by Eric Chance | No Comments

Last night (February 15) the Boone Town Council passed strict new regulations aimed to limit the impacts of coal tar based asphalt sealants.

Coal tar based asphalt sealants are terrible for the environment and have serious human health effects because they are a major source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). If you have ever stood in a parking lot that is really black, that is coal tar asphalt sealant, and if it smelled like tar or weird chemicals, those are the PAHs. There is really no reason to use this type of sealant, because asphalt based sealants are the same price and are far less toxic.

Although, the regulations do not outright ban the use of coal tar sealants, they do make it much more difficult. The regulations set up a permitting process, for anyone wishing to apply a pavement sealant. There will be a minimal fee for non coal tar based sealants, and a much higher fee for coal tar sealants. The permitting process is designed to allow for education on pavement sealants, and to ensure that sealants are applied in a safe manner (like when there is no chance of rain). The new permitting process will be implemented April 1, to allow for time to develop education materials and finalize the fee structure.

These new regulations are in response to the Hodges Creek fish kill. This past summer the BB&T on Highway 105 in Boone applied coal tar based asphalt sealant to their parking lot in the rain. The sealant washed off into Hodges Creek, killing all life in the creek until its confluence with Boone Creek, near the mall, 1.5 miles downstream. Shea Tuberty of Appalachian State told the town council that he had done sampling in Hodges Creek in January, little life has returned to the Creek, six months after the spill.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the town council to stand up for clean streams!

Boone Town Council hears about Fish Kill and Coal-Tar Sealant Ban Tonight

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 | Posted by Eric Chance | No Comments

Fish Killed by Coal-Tar Based Asphalt Sealant in Hodges Creek this Summer

Please join the Watauga Riverkeeper at the Boone Town Council Meeting this Tuesday (September 21) evening at 7:00 pm to show your support for a ban on coal tar based asphalt sealants. The Watauga Riverkeeper, Donna Lisenby will be giving a presentation to the town council about coal tar based asphalt sealants and why they should be banned and we would love to have lots of people there who support the ban. The meeting will be at the Council Chambers on Blowing Rock Road.

The dangerous toxicity of coal tar based sealants was brought to our attention this summer when sealant was applied in the rain at the BB&T bank on Hwy. 105 in Boone, causing a fish kill in Hodges Creek. For more information and to see a video of the destruction please visit the Riverkeeper Blog.