Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Minnesota sealant firm takes stand vs. pollution

An Eagan-based company that is a national leader in driveway coating said Friday that it will stop using coal-tar-based sealants to help curb chemical pollution in stormwater ponds.

Jet-Black International said its franchisees in Minnesota and Wisconsin will switch to newly developed asphalt-based coatings by next year. The company said it also has recommended that its franchisees in 10 other states make the switch.

"We are concerned that continued use of coal-tar sealants will lead to unsustainable and costly pond clean-ups at the expense of the citizens of Minnesota," the company said in a statement.

The company's voluntary switch is a victory for pollution control officials, who have campaigned to end the use of coal-tar-based sealants, long an industry standard. An estimated 85 million gallons of the sealants are sold annually.

"They are doing the responsible thing," said Tom Ennis, an engineer who works for the city of Austin, Texas, and tracks the issue on a blog called Coal Tar-Free America. "It is what we who have worked on the science have been waiting for. If the industry just looks at the facts and stops arguing, then real progress
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