On October 17, 2019, the Austin City Council passed an amendment to the coal tar ban ordinance changing the definition from coal tar containing products to high PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) pavement products.  The amended ordinance went into effect January 1st, 2020.  The ordinance prohibits the sale and use of pavement products with more than .1% (1000 ppm) PAH by weight within the City and its ETJ (extra territorial jurisdiction).

In 2003, City of Austin scientists identified coal tar-based pavement sealants as a significant source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in Austin area stream sediments. Since that time the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the City have conducted additional research that corroborates this finding, concluding that coal tar sealants contribute the majority of stream PAH loading in the Austin area.

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Useful Links

USGS Coal Tar Sealcoat Webpage

Video - December 2015 Presentation to the Environmental Commission

Scientific Studies & Publications

Fact Sheets


Press Releases

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