Poles - A Report About Their Toxic Trail and Safer Alternatives
was an enforcement case at the San Diego Naval Station in 1993
where the Navy stored treated wood pilings on the ground without
a roof for several years. As a result of rain [which has a low
average in San Diego], the chemicals of arsenic, [and creosote
--] acenaphthene, anthracene, benzopyrene, benzo-fluorathene,
chrysene, fluoranthene, fluorene, pyrene, and dibenzofuran [--]
from the pilings dripped and seeped into the soil. The soil
sample analysis showed hazardous levels of these chemicals.
The Department of Toxic Substance Control [California] made
a finding that the poles were not subject to the requirements
under [one section of state law] because the poles were not
considered a waste. However, the site may still be subject to
[other state law] for site cleanup of a hazardous waste contamination.
This enforcement case supports the need for consumer awareness
of the proper handling and in this case storage of treated wood.
Hazardous waste contaminated soils can be hazardous to the environment
and costly to mitigate."43
California Department of
Toxic Substance Control, 1996
and worker exposure
Treated poles act
as leaky containers for toxic chemicals. When many poles are stored
at a single location, their contents can add up to a lot of toxic
material. Some have found that the most significant contamination
sites are storage and distribution yards which have been reported
has about 90 pole storage facilities in Quebec and Ontario, each
containing 10-400 poles. These sites not only pose a serious threat
to workers, but to the surrounding community and the environment.
Canada uses mostly CCA-treated poles in Ontario and penta-treated
poles in Quebec. The company tested soil and groundwater at 14 pole
storage sites in Quebec and 14 in Ontario. It found: q Groundwater
and surface soil concentrations of wood preservative chemicals exceeded
the Provincial clean-up criteria at 9 sites by factors of 2 to 10.
In Quebec, clean-up criteria were exceeded by factors as high as
100 at 10 sites.
to chem. treatment of wood || contents
|| on to treated poles in use