[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
[Adopted 6-7-2011 by L.L. No. 27-2011]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that Suffolk County is committed to protecting the environment and the health and safety of its residents. This Legislature also finds and determines that Suffolk County is located on a sole-source aquifer which supplies the County's drinking water. This Legislature further determines that coal tar sealer is a waste product from steel manufacturing which is used to protect pavement and asphalt against water damage and cracking. This Legislature finds that parking lot sealers made with a coal tar base contain large quantities of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ("PAHs"), a known carcinogen. This Legislature determines that PAHs are known to cause asthma and other ailments in children exposed to high concentrations of the chemical. This Legislature also finds that PAHs are present in high amounts in many waterways, as they can seep into groundwater and nearby waterways and enter the run-off stream from coal tar sealed asphalt. Animals exposed to PAHs in water, including frogs and insects, have shown stunted growth, with most dying shortly after exposure to high concentrations of the chemicals. This Legislature further finds that PAHs from coal tar asphalt sealers not only wear off with friction, but also evaporate into the atmosphere, which allows them to enter the air and combine with household dust. This Legislature also determines that ground-floor residential spaces located near coal tar sealed parking lots have been tested for PAHs and have pollution levels 25 times higher than those with parking lots coated with other sealers. This Legislature further determines that drainage ditches near some coal tar sealed lots have also been found to have higher PAH levels than found at toxic waste sites and severely polluted waterways. This Legislature finds that, in recognition of the dangers posed by coal tar sealers, Lowes and Home Depot have discontinued the sale of such products at their stores nationwide. This Legislature determines that municipalities throughout the nation, including many in Texas and Minnesota, have banned the sale and use of coal tar sealers in their jurisdictions. This Legislature also finds that asphalt and latex-based sealants are safe alternatives to coal tar sealers and do not contain any PAHs.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to ban the sale and use of coal tar sealers in the County of Suffolk.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALTERNATIVE-BASED SEALER
- Any sealer material that does not contain coal tar and is used on asphalt or concrete surfaces, including a driveway, parking lot or other paved surface.
- COAL TAR
- A viscous substance obtained by the destructive distillation of coal and containing levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in excess of 10,000 milligrams per kilogram. This definition shall include, but not be limited to, refined coal tar, high-temperature coal tar, coal tar pitch, or any substance identified by chemical abstract number 65996-93-2.
- COAL TAR SEALER
- A sealer material containing coal tar that is used on an asphalt or concrete surface, including a driveway, parking lot or other paved surface.
- The Commissioner of the Department of Health Services.
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of organic chemicals which are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas or other hydrocarbons. These chemicals are present in coal tar and are known to be harmful to humans, fish and other aquatic life.
- Any natural person, individual, corporation, unincorporated association, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint-stock association, or other entity or business organization of any kind.
This article shall not apply to any person who is conducting bona fide research on the effects of coal tar sealer products or PAHs on the environment with the written consent of the Commissioner.
This article shall apply only to the sale and use of coal tar sealers and shall not affect the use of alternative-based sealers or other alternatives that do not contain PAHs in the County of Suffolk.
This article shall not apply to the manufacture of coal tar sealers within the County of Suffolk or the sale of coal tar sealers to persons outside the boundaries of Suffolk County.
[Added 6-5-2012 by L.L. No. 39-2012]
Violation of this article shall be subject to a civil fine of $500 for an initial violation, with a penalty of $750 for any subsequent violations.
This article shall be enforced by the Department of Health Services in accordance with the procedures set forth in §§ 760-202 through 760-215 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is hereby authorized and empowered to investigate alleged violations of this article upon the request of the Commissioner. Upon the completion of an investigation, the Department of Consumer Affairs shall forward its findings to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner is hereby authorized and empowered to establish rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this article.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.
[Amended 9-15-2011 by L.L. No. 45-2011]
This article shall take effect on July 1, 2012.