- Environmental Services
- What We Do
- Stormwater Quality
- Stormwater Quality Programs
- Clean Pavement Initiative
Clean Pavement Initiative
The goal of the Clean Pavement Initiative is to voluntarily encourage pavement sealant choices that are more protective of water quality in Springfield. The Initiative is a cooperative effort of the City of Springfield and participating sealant industry professionals to educate customers on the pros and cons of sealant types to allow them to make an informed choice.
By committing to this program...
Businesses who choose to use asphalt-based sealant when sealing their parking lots can elect to help educate their customers about the water quality benefits of this choice through parking lot signage supplied by the City that provides positive recognition for the business and the sealant industry professional.
Citizens who choose to use asphalt-based sealant when sealing their driveways can elect to showcase the water quality benefits of this choice through a Clean Pavement Initiative yard plaque supplied by the City.
Participate in the Clean Pavement Initiative by completing a commitment form.
What's in YOUR Parking lot?
Sealant used to coat asphalt pavement in parking lots and driveways comes in three common varieties: coal-tar-based (also called refined tar),asphalt-based (also called asphalt emulsion), and steam-cracked petroleum-based. All three varieties of sealant contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of chemicals created by heating or burning materials that contain carbon. Coal-tar-based sealant contains much higher concentrations of PAHs than the other two types. Asphalt-based sealants typically contain the lowest concentrations of PAHs and are therefore the focus of the Clean Pavement Initiative. Steam-cracked petroleum sealants are also a lower-PAH alternative to coal-tar-based sealants.
PAHs are a potential environmental concern because some studies have shown that they can be toxic to fish, wildlife, and invertebrate species that live in streams and are the base of the food chain.
PAHs in Springfield
There are many sources of PAHs in urban environments including tire particles, motor oil, and vehicle exhaust. However, some studies have identified coal-tar-based sealant as a major source of PAHs in urban environments. When it rains, sealant particles from parking lots and driveways can be washed into local streams. In Springfield, some streams have been identified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as impaired for PAHs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to make the clean pavement commitment?
Any owner of asphalt pavement can make the commitment to choose asphalt-based sealant the next time they plan to seal their pavement. The owner can commit at the time of resealing with asphalt-based sealant or commit now for future sealant choices.
How do asphalt pavement owners sign up?
Make the commitment for your parking lot or driveway by completing a commitment form.
How do participants get a sign?
Participants can choose whether or not they want a sign. The City will supply a sign to the owner along with a companion sign recognizing the industry sealant professional, if that information has been provided. The owner is responsible for installing the sign. Participants can also choose not to receive a sign.
How do sealant industry professionals participate?
To participate, sealant industry professionals agree to offer asphalt-based sealant (i.e. asphalt emulsion) as an option to their customers and educate them by providing the Clean Pavement Initiative program brochure supplied by the City. They also agree to provide annual data to the City on the amount and types of sealant applied in Springfield so the effectiveness of this program can be tracked over time. This voluntary commitment does not prevent the sale or use of other types of sealant.
Sign up as a participating professional.
What about concrete pavement?
Concrete pavement does not need sealed and therefore is a good choice for reducing PAHs in the environment. The Initiative commends owners of concrete pavement for helping to reduce PAHs. To focus on reducing the use of coal-tar-based asphalt sealants, the commitment and signage is only available to asphalt pavement owners.
Business Program Commitments
Missouri state university
Island Park Properties LLC
Mihlfeld & Associates, inc.
Participating Professional Commitments
Coal Tar Sealant Information
In November 2009, the Springfield-Greene County Environmental Advisory Board presented City Council with a letter regarding the board’s concerns about the use of coal tar-based pavement sealants. The issue was referred to the City Council Community Involvement Committee for further consideration.
- Environmental Advisory Board Letter (PDF)
- City Letter to Local Sealant Businesses and Responses (PDF)
Presentations to City Council
- December 16, 2009 - Todd Wagner, City of Springfield Principal Stormwater Engineer (PDF)
- January 15, 2010 - Tom Ennis, City of Austin, Tx (PDF)
- February 24, 2010 - Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PDF)
- August 3, 2010 - Dr. Barbara Mahler and Dr. Peter Van Metre, USGS (PDF)
The City contracted with the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute at Missouri State University to conduct a study of PAH concentrations and sources in local waterways. The Final Report (pdf) was completed in October 2012.
Information & Other Studies
In an effort to provide unbiased, scientific information, we have only listed links to publications by government agencies and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Some journal articles are available as abstracts only but the full articles can be accessed at the Missouri State University library.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services PAH Fact Sheet (PDF)
- National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens - PAHs (PDF)
Effects of PAHs on Aquatic Life
- Nonadditive Effects of PAHs on Early Vertebrate Development: Mechanisms and Implications for Risk Assessment (Toxicological Sciences, 2008)
- Perspective on Ecotoxicology of PAHs to Fish (Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: an International Journal, 2007)
- Evaluation of Fish Early Life-Stage Toxicity Models of Chronic Embryonic Exposures to Complex Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mixtures (Toxicological Sciences, 2004)
- EPA Ecological Toxicity Information on PAHs
Studies on the Environmental & Human Health Impacts of Pavement Sealants
The first 2 publications provide good summaries of the research to date.
- Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management (PDF) (Environmental Science & Technology, Jan 2012)
- USGS Fact Sheet - Summary of USGS Research (PDF). This fact sheet and links to many of the studies below can also be found on the USGS website.
- PAH volatilization following application of coal-tar-based pavement sealant (PDF) (Atmospheric Environment, 2012)
- Volatilization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from coal-tar-sealed pavement (PDF) (Chemosphere, 2012)
- Coal-tar pavement sealants might substantially increase children’s PAH exposures (Environmental Pollution, 2012)
- Assessment of Water Quality of Runoff from Sealed Asphalt Surfaces (PDF) (USEPA, Sept 2011)
- Contribution of PAHs from Coal-Tar Pavement Sealcoat and Other Sources to 40 U.S. Lakes (PDF) (Science of the Total Environment, 2010)
- Contamination of Stormwater Pond Sediments by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Minnesota (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, March 2010)
- Influence of Coal-Tar Sealcoat and Other Carbonaceous Materials on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Loading in an Urban Watershed (Environmental Science & Technology, 2010)
- Coal-Tar-Based Parking Lot Sealcoat: An Unrecognized Source of PAH to Settled House Dust (Environmental Science & Technology, 2010)
- Concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Urban Stormwater, Madison, Wisconsin, 2005-08 (USGS, 2009)
- PAHs Underfoot: Contaminated Dust from Coal-Tar Sealcoated Pavement is Widespread in the United States (Environmental Science & Technology, 2009)
- Occurence of PAHs Below Coal-Tar-Sealed Parking Lots and Effects on Stream Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities (Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 2007)
- Parking Lot Sealcoat: A Major Source of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Urban and Suburban Environments (PDF) (United States Geological Survey, 2006)
- The Effects of Coal Tar Based Pavement Sealer on Amphibian Development and Metamorphosis (Ecotoxicology, 2006)
- Parking Lot Sealcoat: An Unrecognized Source of Urban Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Environmental Science & Technology, 2005)
- Response to Comment on “Parking Lot Sealcoat: An Unrecognized Source of Urban Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons” (Environmental Science & Technology, 2006)
Other Community / State Experience
As of Sept 2012, there are bans in 29 cities/counties in Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Illinois, and Maryland as well as Washington, D.C., and the State of Washington.
- Austin, TX Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- Dane County, WI Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- Washington, D.C. Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- State of Minnesota Coal-Tar Sealant Legislation
- Centerville, MN Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- White Bear Lake, MN Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- Circle Pines, MN Coal-Tar Sealant Ban
- Suffolk County, NY
- City of Austin, TX Alternative Products List
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Fact Sheet (PDF)