Today I discuss the decision to resume using coal tar emulsion to seal parking lots.
Alternative method to seal lots proves disappointing
For many years, the University applied coal tar emulsion (CTE) to seal its asphalt parking lots. Sealing the asphalt extends the life of the lots by protecting them from sunlight, salts, chemicals and oil.
The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate the use of CTE or recommend any particular protocols when using CTE. However, in response to debate about the potential impact of chemicals in CTE runoff, in 2013 the University began trials with an alternative sealant—asphalt emulsion (AE)—on select parking lots. The goal was to find a product that served the same purpose as CTE with less risk for environmental impact.
The results from the trial use of AE were disappointing. It was difficult to apply, did not perform as well, does not last as long and is more expensive. In March, this information was presented to the Board of Governors, and the Board directed us to return to the use of CTE for resealing parking lots. There will be one major difference in its use this summer, however. CTE will be applied only using the specifications adopted by the Missouri Department of Conservation to mitigate against chemical runoff. These specifications include ensuring that CTE is applied when rain is not forecast and having a physical barrier available to prevent runoff at the edge of the lot during application.
We learned a lot during the AE trials, and they were worthwhile. We will continue to evaluate the use of AE and other CTE alternatives in the next several years, and we will conduct further trials as technology for CTE alternatives improves.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!
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