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Conserving energy by environmentally acceptable practices in maintaining and procuring transmission poles for long service ; August 1991 Public Deposited

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  • Evaluations of previously established field trials indicate that chioropicrin and Vorlex continue to provide a diminishing level of protection to Douglas-fir poles. Tests of solid methylisothiocyanate (MITC), now in their thirteenth year, indicate that this chemical continues to prevent recolonization of Douglas-fir poles by decay fungi. MITC appears to provide equivalent or better protection than Vorlex. Gelatin encapsulated MITC and chioropicrin also continue to perform well in field trials. Although the gelatin is water soluble and must decompose to release the chemical, the addition of water to the treatment holes did not appear to significantly enhance long-term MITC performance. Laboratory trials to identify safer fumigants indicate that sodium nmethyldithiocarbamate decomposition occurs even in dry wood, although the rate of decomposition is enhanced by the presence of some moisture. A gelled 40 % NaMDC formulation has also been evaluated for its ability to eliminate decay fungi from Douglas-fir heartwood. This formulation has performed better than liquid metham sodium. Field trials are planned with both the solid and gelled NaMDC. Laboratory trials have also been performed to evaluate the toxicity of fused borate rods to Antrodia carbonica and Postia placenta. These two fungi are important decayers of Douglas-fir utility poles. The results indicate that the boron moved well through both wood species, but complete elimination of the test fungus required 6 to 8 weeks. Antrodia carbonica was generally more tolerant of boron than P. placenta. Field trials of fused borate rods indicate that the boron has moved downward from the point of application, but no evidence of upward movement was noted. Trials to evaluate the efficacy of glass-encapsulated M:[TC in Douglas-fir 1 11 and southern pine poles are now in their second year. The results continue to indicate the MITC levels are higher in Douglas-fir poles. The reasons for this descrepancy are unclear, but may reflect an increased MITC loss from the more permeable southern pine poles. Controlled studies of MITC release rates from the glass vials show that the tubes retain chemical for 1 to 2 years under normal conditions. Faster losses occur under more tropical conditions, while little loss occurs in cold conditions. Evaluations of additives to enhance Basamid decomposition in Douglas-fir pole sections indicate that the presence of copper sulfate and pH 12 buffer markedly improve the rate of decomposition to MuG one year after chemical application. More controlled laboratory studies are underway to better understand this effect. The trials to evaluate the effects of voids on fumigant movement continue to indicate that the void has little effect on chemical concentration. These results indicate that fumigant treatment of poles with voids is feasible provided the wood retains adequate strength. Laboratory trials to develop diffusion coefficients for chloropicri.n movement through Douglas-fir heartwood have been developed. As expected, chioropicrin movement was most rapid longitudinally and at the fiber saturation point. Drier wood retained more chemical, slowing diffusion. The diffusion coefficients will be employed in the fumigant model currently being evaluated on MITC. The model indicates that MITC movement was greatest at moderate moisture levels (22 or 44 %), while higher or lower moisture regimes limited chemical movement. The results obtained using the model will be confirmed through laboratory trials and by comparison with the results of chemical analyses performed on the glass-encapsulated MITC trials. The trials to identify potential replacements for pentachlorophenol for Ii' remedial treatments are continuing. A number of chemicals have been identified for both the protection of field drilled bolt holes and the spray treatment of western redcedar sapwood. Spray treatments of the most promising chemicals will be applied to western redcedar poles in service. The identification of small scale tests for detecting decay or estimating residual strength are continuing. We also continue to evaluate the effectiveness of various pretreatments for improving treatment and performance of poles. The effects of through boring and radial drilling patterns on treatment were evaluated on a glue-laminated Douglas-fir pole. While some differences were noted in the patterns, the pole was too well-treated to permit effective separation of the various patterns. The air-seasoning studies are now completed. Evaluation of the final pahse of this study showed that decay fungi began to colonize the pole sections after only 3 months of air-seasoning. Examination of weather data failed to provide a conclusive relationship between climate and colonization, possibly due to the array of variables to which the seasoning wood is subjected. The test suggests that most poles are adequately dried within three months of air-seasoning so that short air-seasoning exposures could be feasible. Sterilization at some point during the treatment cycle should still be considered as an integral part in the proper treatment of poles. Field trials to evaluate the performance of modified groundline wrap systems are continuing at both the Corvallis site and on a test line near Modesto, CA. The results at the Corvallis site indicate the copper naphthenate, boron, and fluoride are all moving well into the wood eighteen months after application. More controlled laboratory trials on one formulation suggest that the water soluble copper naphthenate can migrate for some distance into the wood within six months after application. As expected, wet wood permits more iv substantial diffusion. Evaluation of copper naphthenate treated western redcedar stakes in a fungus cellar suggests that the specified treatment levels are providing adequate protection, although some decay is occurring. Stakes which were obtained from weathered sapwood appear to be failing more rapidly those cut from freshly sawn lumber, possibly because the former stakes have a more open structure which permits leaching losses and subsequent fungal colonization.
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