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Find green ways to handle driveway sealcoating

As people continue to become aware of the "go green" initiative, many are looking for more ways to help the environment. Finding safe ways to upkeep driveways is a good place to start.

Each year, thousands of gallons of sealcoat are applied to driveways and other asphalt-paved areas in Minnesota. Until recently, the majority of that sealcoat was based on coal tar. However, the cancer hazards of chemicals in coal tar-based sealcoats are now known and other possible hazards are being studied.

As sealcoat wears, it turns into dust that can be blown onto play areas. Children contact this dust or track it onto carpets inside. Sealcoat dust is also washed into streams and ponds. There, it affects fish and what they feed on.

There are economic effects as well. Removing coal tar-contaminated sediment from storm water ponds costs property owners and taxpayers a lot.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is asking Minnesotans to choose safer alternatives to protect their paved areas, their children, and their communities. Here's how:

  •  Understand what the pavement needs for maintenance. If replacement is needed, then consider concrete, permeable pavers, or one of the new, more durable asphalts.
  •  If asphalt pavement still has life, asphalt-based sealcoats have much lower levels of harmful chemicals than do coal tar-based sealants.
  •  Talk to contractors about their experience with asphalt and other, safer sealcoat alternatives that perform well at a reasonable cost. The MPCA recommends starting with a contractor who has pledged not to use coal tar-based sealcoat.
  • Make sure best sealcoat application practices are used on the pavement. Follow the manufacturer's mixing and application recommendations.

For more resources, visit the MPCA's guide at