Sealcoat: What are the new laws that could affect your budget?

By Justin Hoover, PCM Vice President, Building Exteriors | May 16, 2016

coal tar ban-blog-photo

“Sealcoat’s Journey Over Time” – Pavement sealer (left) wears off. Runoff carries bits of the coating from pavement into waterways (right). 
Photo by Monica Gilbert- C&EN

Coal Tar Sealcoat Banned in Anne Arundel County, Prince Georges County, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.

If you are planning to seal your driveway or parking lot in Anne Arundel County, Prince Georges County, Montgomery County or Washington, D.C., make sure you are adhering to the current laws.

Effective January 1, 2016 the sale, application and use of asphalt pavement sealers which contain coal tar are banned for use in Anne Arundel County & Prince Georges County.

A similar ban took effect for Washington D.C. on July 1, 2009 and Montgomery County on December 18, 2012.

Before using a pavement sealant, check to make sure it does not contain:

  • Coal tar
  • Refined coal tar
  • Coal tar pitch
  • RT-12


DOEE (Department of Energy and Environment) inspectors conduct routine inspections of parking lots and driveway areas suspected to be in violation of the ban. During an inspection, the examiner conducts a field-screening test. If the field test proves positive for a coal-tar-based sealant, the inspector will inform the owner of the results, and will return to the site to collect additional samples for laboratory analysis. If the coal tar violation is confirmed by the lab results, the inspector will then issue an enforcement action. The inspector will work with property owners and other involved parties (contractor and/or subcontractor) to remediate the parking lot and/or driveway to meet compliance requirements.

If I have existing coal tar pavement sealant on my parking lot, am I still subject to a fine?

Yes, but only if the sealant was put down after the ban took effect. You will be required to remediate your site either via shotblasting or sealing it through double-layer encapsulation and monitoring. If remediation terms are not met, you may then be subject to a fine of $2,500 daily. 

What are the alternatives?

Approved alternatives for coal tar sealants include:

  • Asphalt-based Sealant
  • Latex Sealant

The main goal of this new law is to ensure that:

  • Coal tar based sealant is not being put down in the first place.
  • If it is put down, that it is removed quickly and appropriately.

To learn more about the District’s ban on coal tar sealants, please visit or contact Christopher Kibler at 202.535.2239 or

Curious to learn more about the benefits of sealcoating? Visit our Asphalt FAQs to learn about the causes of asphalt failure, when to sealcoat newly laid asphalt, and various types of asphalt repair.