MATTHEWS, NC – The Matthews Board of Commissioners recently voted to expand the townwide ban on coal tar sealants.
In February 2018, the Matthews Board voted to implement a ban on the use of coal tar sealants in Matthews, making it the first municipality in North Carolina to do so. Since the ban was implemented, new non-coal tar sealants have been brought to market that contain high levels of the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services presented information at the Matthews Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday evening. The Board voted unanimously to expand the ordinance to ban any sealants that contain PAHs at or above 0.1%. Those in violation of the ordinance, which goes into effect in January 2020, could be fined up to $5,000 a day.
Coal tar sealant is a shiny black product applied to asphalt surfaces to protect the pavement. It contains high levels of PAHs. PAHs have been shown to be harmful to aquatic life, air quality and the environment. Coal tar sealants have been identified by the National Cancer Institute as a carcinogen.
The use of coal tar sealants is primarily by commercial contractors and distributors. A more environmentally friendly alternative to coal-tar-based sealants is asphalt-based sealants. The Town of Matthews uses sealants that do not contain PAHs in the pavement preservation program.