Rosemount City Council bans coal tar-based sealersCity will educate residents on sealers that contaminate stormwater with carcinogenic chemical
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
The Rosemount City Council will regulate the use of coal tar-based sealer products. The council unanimously decided to ban use of the substance in Rosemount, which means residents and businesses won’t be able to use the sealants on their driveways.
The council held a brief discussion on the topic before voting. At the first reading of the ordinance council member Jeff Weisensel had asked whether the city could more harshly punish people who use the substance. Between the two meetings he provided some information on a city that classifies the substance as a nuisance and requires cleanup from people who use the product.
City attorney Charlie LeFevere said the ordinance presented was recommended by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and making the substance a nuisance would go above and beyond the state’s recommendation. While it wouldn’t be difficult, LeFevere said enforcement of a nuisance ordinance could be expensive and difficult. He recommended the council pass the ordinance as it was presented.
Weisensel said he was fine passing the ordinance but wanted to make sure the public was educated about the substance and the harm it can cause.
The ordinance aims to stop the use of the sealants in Rosemount to protect the city’s stormwater ponds and wetlands. City engineer and public works director Andy Brotzler said the issue came up last year when a member of the community expressed concerns about the sealer being used on the private streets within Crosscroft Community.
The resident attended a utility commission meeting in April 2011 to provide test results obtained from Dakota County of a sample of run-off from the streets in Crosscroft. The results indicated the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
In a press release the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the chemical accumulates in the sediments of stormwater ponds. PAHs can be harmful to human health and are classified as carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In some cases, Brotzler said, cities have had to dispose of sediment as hazardous waste, which is costly.
Brotzler said emulsion-based products are safer for the environment and are easily accessible. No area hardware stores sell coal tar-based products anymore.
Brotzler said regulating the use of coal tar-based products does not appear to have a downside and would protect the city’s waterways.
Rosemount is not alone in restricting use of the products. According to the MPCA many communities throughout the country have passed similar ordinances. Seal-coating company Jet Black is voluntarily phasing out coal tar-based sealants for the emulsion based products by 2013.
In other business, the council approved a liquor license for Guiseppe’s Pasta Alforno. The business plans to move to the former Café Raisa location, where it can include seating. The restaurant will serve wine and beer along with its Italian menu. City clerk Amy Domeier said the restaurant’s owner plans to open in the new location sometime in early May.