Front Porch Blog

Hodge’s Creek Fish Kill Update

Back on July 17, asphalt sealant killed off 1.5 miles of Hodge’s Creek in Boone, NC. Turns out the sealant is made from coal tar, making this yet another consequence of using deadly coal by-products.

Coal tar, which would be listed as a ‘hazardous waste,’ were it not for a special federal exemption, contains benzo[a]pyrene. Benzo[a]pyrene is dangerous chemical that made EPA’s list of 12 priority “persistent bioaccumulative toxins.” Still, coal tar is being applied to asphalt across the country, and concerns are growing that toxins from the product are being tracked into homes, schools, hospitals and other buildings.

Check out the following presentation from Austin that more fully explains how coal tar sealants harm our environment.

The city of Austin, TX banned the product almost 5 years ago, when it was recognized to be damaging the local ecosystem. More recently a few other cities, including Washington, D.C., have followed suit. Overwhelmingly, though, the product remains unregulated, exacting unmeasured costs on cities and ecosystems (like Boone and Hodge’s creek) across the country.

Click here to check out a story in the Watauga Democrat’s about Hodge’s Creek accident.

Click here to see photos of the Riverkeeper Team doing an aquatic life assessment on Hodge’s Creek with the Division of Water Quality.





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