Winnetka Coal Tar Sealcoating Ban

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014 the Winnetka City Council approved a ban on coal tar sealant by a vote of 4 -1.  This now makes Winnetka the second municipality to ban the use of coal-tar sealants, following South Barrington.

The debate on the safety off coal-tar based sealants remains a hot topic not just in the communities which Kaplan Paving (Express Sealcoating’s Parent Company) serve, but across the USA. Coal-tar sealant has long been the preferred product by both homeowners and sealcoating companies.  The sealant has typically been used  because of it’s resistance to petroleum products including gas and oil, which can drip from cars and impact asphalt surfaces.

Certain groups such as Coal Tar Free America have been lobbying to ban the use of this product.  Their claim is that coal-tar can pose a health risk as the chemicals may find their way into the storm water.

Coal-tar industry experts state that there have been no conclusive studies to show that coal-tar poses a risk.  Certain shampoo products contain coal-tar.

“Coal tar is generally recognized as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration,” said Anne LeHuray of the Pavement Coatings Technology Council “It’s controlled at the federal level by numerous regulations. It’s been used for 50-60 years. There hasn’t been a report, no insurance claim, no worker’s compensation [related to coal tar].”

The Coal-Tar Solution: Asphalt-Based Sealants

As one of the largest sealcoating companies serving the Northern Suburbs of Chicago, Express Sealcoating has offered both Coal-tar and Asphalt-based sealants to satisfy client demand.  As communities become more  environmentally conscious with “Green” movements, Kaplan has acted quickly to respond to the needs of this industry.

Kaplan President, Scott Greenberg said:

“You’ve got the makings of a perfect storm of circumstances that threatens to turn the seal coating industry on its head. Until recently, the asphalt based alternative was not quite as good as the coal tar product, it was more expensive and the application window was limited.  The latest asphalt product developed has improved measurably.  It acts and performs more like coal tar (which applicators like) with an asphalt emulsion base, which the communities want.  Finally a win.  The asphalt product does cost more, but Kaplan and Express believe the product will last two years and thus will be a more cost effective solution than an annual coal tar application.”

Educating the Customer

Not all Asphalt-based sealers are the same.  They are different in how they are  manufactured, mixed and applied. Mr Greenberg issued the following warning to all sealcoat customers:

“Beware,  there are plenty of unethical contractors who skimp on material and utilize untrained employees.  Typically, sealcoat companies do not offer both products as options.  The inventory costs, additional trucks, and inability for the two products to be commingled cause major issues for the fragmented industry.  Kaplan / Express Sealcoating is set up for either coal tar or asphalt based sealer and will not push you into the one product we carry like other sealcoat companies do.    The choice is yours.   We feel that both products stand on their own merits depending on the needs and wants of the client.  Kaplan / Express values our clients and stands committed to being the leading asphalt repair and replacement company in Illinois. ” 

When does the Coal-tar Ban go in effect?

In Winnetka you can still use Coal-tar based sealants through the remainder of 2014.  Starting next year (2015), any company wishing to apply sealers in Winnetka will have to become registered with the village and pledge not use Coal-Tar based sealants.

Free Asphalt-based or Coal-Tar based Sealant Estimates

If you still have not sealcoated your driveway or parking lot, it is not too late.  Contact the Express Sealcoating Professionals for your free estimate at  1.847.987.3610.