Environmental protection and long term in-service sustainability of preserved wooden poles is secured by non-toxic barrier protection system – History and case studies in South Africa
A A W Baecker
Non-toxic flexible sheeting systems have been developed to encapsulate the ground contact regions of preserved wooden poles and prevent their premature failure in South Africa since 1992 but the technology also has a long history of resistance by individuals with vested interests in the built-in redundancies of such poles. The concept has, however, been simultaneously validated by many independent research institutions worldwide and IRG itself formed a Working Group in 1997 to examine the role of the technology in wood protection. This paper reviews the work done over the past 25 years to validate butt-encapsulation of preserved wooden poles with inert impermeable materials as a proven technology that prevents the loss of preservative from, and subsequent decay of, the protected poles. The paper also presents the findings of four case studies to that effect in South Africa.