The Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC) spent much of 2012 presenting scientific research in defense of refined coal tar (RFT) sealers to officials in various states, defending the material from unwarranted regulation by states and localities.
In addition, according to Anne LeHuray, PCTC executive director, PCTC has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration at both federal and state levels to bring the FAA up to date on RFT research and to pre-empt attacks by those who seek a ban of RFT sealers.
“It’s been a productive year,” LeHuray said in a December interview. “There have been a number of challenges at local and state levels and as an organization we have been working with several different government agencies to make sure they understand the science behind use of sealcoat.”
She said that partially because of PCTC support and the involvement of local PCTC members and customers, governments have reconsidered unwarranted claims that sealers harm the environment. In Montgomery County, MD, the local government did institute a ban without any evidence that RFT is related to even a single instance of environmental pollution.
Briefing the FAA
LeHuray said the meetings with the FAA were particularly important since the industry often relies on FAA specs P-630 (sealer specs without an additive) and P-631 (with an additive) for various bids and airports require adherence to the specifications for sealcoating of runways and taxiways.
“We found that while many FAA technical people had a vague awareness of the issue it really hasn’t become more than a local issue,” she says. “We had an open discussion with the FAA and found them interested and receptive. They gave no indication the FAA is considering any changes to its sealcoating specifications or requirements.”
LeHuray said the FAA pointed out to PCTC that refined coal tar-based product has performed to FAA’s requirements and they pointed out that, RFT manufactured to meet FAA specifications doesn’t need to be re-tested to be specified. Alernative products that are not manufactured to an approved specification would first need to be tested to prove it can meet the FAA needs.
Also in 2012 PCTC had its scientific research on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which gives the PCTC argument added weight when presented to officials.
“It’s been clear all along that the data regarding PAHs used by the U.S.G.S. to implicate refined coal tar sealer in waterway pollution was not accurate and we have been arguing that and demonstrating it for years,” she said. “Now that our results have been reviewed by other scientists and published in scientific literature it has much more impact.”
PCTC to Host free Sealcoating Webinar in February
The Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC) will host a free 60-minute webinar to give contractors a behind-the-scenes look at what can happen locally when an attempt to ban refine coal tar sealer is made.
According to Anne LeHuray, PCTC executive director, the webinar, titled “How to Fight for Your Sealcoating Business” will focus on the experience of VelveTop, an Islip, NY-based producer of refined coal tar sealers and a supplier of a broad range of pavement maintenance tools and materials. LeHuray said principals of the company will discuss their experience implementing a ban in one part of their service area, Suffolk County, New York.
“This is critical information for any contractor or producer involved in sealcoating and that’s why VelveTop has decided to talk about their experience,” LeHuray said. “We’ve got the scienceto defend refined coal tar sealers but the science is not enough.
“We need people to be aware of this issue at the local level and we need them to become involved because the activists who pursue bans like this don’t stop. So we need local support and we need people to step up.”
She said that in addition to the VelveTop presentation Mike Juba of Koppers Inc., will explain the best ways for contractors to address the refined coal tar issue with their customers, local media and local and state officials.
“The VelveTop story should be of interest to every contracto. For the future, the most important part of the webinar will be the discussion of how contractors can address this on their own,” LeHuray said.
The free “How to Fight for Your Sealcoating Business” webinar is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday February 19. For more information contact PCTC (www.pavementcouncil.org) or your sealer supplier.