Clean Pavement Initiative

Parking Loto pic

The goal of the Clean Pavement Initiative is to voluntarily encourage pavement sealant choices that are more protective of water quality in Springfield.  The Initiative is a cooperative effort of the City of Springfield and participating sealant industry professionals to educate customers on the pros and cons of sealant types to allow them to make an informed choice.   

By committing to this program...

Businesses who choose to use asphalt-based sealant when sealing their parking lots can elect to help educate their customers about the water quality benefits of this choice through parking lot signage supplied by the City that provides positive recognition for the business and the sealant industry professional.

Citizens who choose to use asphalt-based sealant when sealing their driveways can elect to showcase the water quality benefits of this choice through a Clean Pavement Initiative yard plaque supplied by the City. 

Participate in the Clean Pavement Initiative by completing a commitment form.

Clean Pavement Initiative Sign Display

What's in YOUR Parking lot?


Sealant used to coat asphalt pavement in parking lots and driveways comes in three common varieties:  coal-tar-based (also called refined tar),asphalt-based (also called asphalt emulsion), and steam-cracked petroleum-based.  All three varieties of sealant contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of chemicals created by heating or burning materials that contain carbon.  Coal-tar-based sealant contains much higher concentrations of PAHs than the other two types.  Asphalt-based sealants typically contain the lowest concentrations of PAHs and are therefore the focus of the Clean Pavement Initiative. Steam-cracked petroleum sealants are also a lower-PAH alternative to coal-tar-based sealants.

PAHs are a potential environmental concern because some studies have shown that they can be toxic to fish, wildlife, and invertebrate species that live in streams and are the base of the food chain.

PAHs in Springfield

Alternate Site B Upstream Sampling

There are many sources of PAHs in urban environments including tire particles, motor oil, and vehicle exhaust.  However, some studies have identified coal-tar-based sealant as a major source of PAHs in urban environments.  When it rains, sealant particles from parking lots and driveways can be washed into local streams.  In Springfield, some streams have been identified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as impaired for PAHs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to make the clean pavement commitment? 
Any owner of asphalt pavement can make the commitment to choose asphalt-based sealant the next time they plan to seal their pavement. The owner can commit at the time of resealing with asphalt-based sealant or commit now for future sealant choices. 

How do asphalt pavement owners sign up?  
Make the commitment for your parking lot or driveway by completing a commitment form.

How do participants get a sign?  
Participants can choose whether or not they want a sign.  The City will supply a sign to the owner along with a companion sign recognizing the industry sealant professional, if that information has been provided.  The owner is responsible for installing the sign. Participants can also choose not to receive a sign.  

How do sealant industry professionals participate? 
To participate, sealant industry professionals agree to offer asphalt-based sealant (i.e. asphalt emulsion) as an option to their customers and educate them by providing the Clean Pavement Initiative program brochure supplied by the City. They also agree to provide annual data to the City on the amount and types of sealant applied in Springfield so the effectiveness of this program can be tracked over time. This voluntary commitment does not prevent the sale or use of other types of sealant.
Sign up as a participating professional.  

What about concrete pavement?  
Concrete pavement does not need sealed and therefore is a good choice for reducing PAHs in the environment.  The Initiative commends owners of concrete pavement for helping to reduce PAHs.  To focus on reducing the use of coal-tar-based asphalt sealants, the commitment and signage is only available to asphalt pavement owners. 

Business Program Commitments



Missouri state university

drury university


Island Park Properties LLC

Mihlfeld & Associates, inc.


Participating Professional Commitments

Springfield Striping & Sealing logo
Lazer Perfect participating sealant provider
Black Roads Materials participating sealant provider

Coal Tar Sealant Information

Local Information

In November 2009, the Springfield-Greene County Environmental Advisory Board presented City Council with a letter regarding the board’s concerns about the use of coal tar-based pavement sealants. The issue was referred to the City Council Community Involvement Committee for further consideration.

Presentations to City Council

Local Study

The City contracted with the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute at Missouri State University to conduct a study of PAH concentrations and sources in local waterways. The Final Report (pdf) was completed in October 2012.

Information & Other Studies

In an effort to provide unbiased, scientific information, we have only listed links to publications by government agencies and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Some journal articles are available as abstracts only but the full articles can be accessed at the Missouri State University library.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Effects of PAHs on Aquatic Life

Studies on the Environmental & Human Health Impacts of Pavement Sealants

The first 2 publications provide good summaries of the research to date.

Other Links

Other Community / State Experience

As of Sept 2012, there are bans in 29 cities/counties in Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Illinois, and Maryland as well as Washington, D.C., and the State of Washington.

Alternative Products