“Common-sense” Coal Tar Ban Passes in San Marcos, TX

First municipal ban in Texas in 10 years passes unanimously

Last night, the the City of San Marcos, Texas (pop. 59,000) passed additions to their MS4 program to include the ban of coal tar pavement sealers. The use of coal tar sealcoat in sensitive recharge zone areas has been prohibited for a few years under the jurisdiction of the Edwards Aquifer Authority EAA). We covered this when it passed in 2012.

San Marcos is a river town midway between Austin and San Antonio, and is blessed with high-quality waters for recreation along the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers. Tubing or canoeing are favorite pass-times of locals and visitors. These waters are also home to several aquatic endangered species too. These high quality waters are challenged by development and growth which places San Marcos among the fastest growing in the nation.

The Council received comments from a local sealcoat distributor. Once the Council understood that there is a 38 times greater chance of getting cancer living next to a coal tar sealed surface and the harmful effects on aquatic species and that the EAA had already passed regulations in a portion of the community there were no more questions.

An environmental engineer and stormwater manager, Lisa Arceneaux from nearby Texas State University spoke in favor of the coal tar ban provisions of the ordinance. She that if we truly understand the connection between what we do in our developed areas and water quality that this material should be banned.

The effective date is a little uncertain. Once clarification is received, this post will be updated with that information.

photo credit: Dan Jones from Flickr

Share this post