View Single Post
Old 07-06-2021, 07:29 PM   #10
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,679
Originally Posted by TCD View Post
Yes; creosote.

If the USFS Performance in NH is any indication, they will leave the creosote pile in the woods for years.
I did some limited reading on the hazards of creosote on the environment.

In a lot of cases it is used directly in water e.g. piles. I know it's also used on low load bridges on any wooden beams. I think also used on wooden break walls.

It doesn't seem particularly great for the ecosystem. It becomes more toxic as it breaks down and bioaccumulates. It is only mildly soluble in water and those are probably of an era when the ties were pressure impregnated. Apparently that makes it more difficult for the oils/tars to come into contact with water.

Those ties have been exposed to water and have been leaching something into the watershed for as long as they've been there. It's hard to say if they'll be any worse in a pile as they were sitting on the rail bed. I think grinding them up or doing anything to expose the innards will increase the rate at which they leach and eventually rot.

There doesn't seem to be a good way to dispose of them which is any better than leaving them there.

Last edited by montcalm; 07-07-2021 at 11:33 AM..
montcalm is offline   Reply With Quote