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#382786 - 07/19/14 11:37 PM Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers???
EMO Offline

Registered: 07/19/14
Posts: 2
Loc: MO
We just had a pond dug a few weeks ago and figured we had better build the party/fishing pier now before if fills up. The pond is around 1/2 acre. Our neighbor had some old telephone poles that we took to use as piers. We cut them up, augered the holes, leveled them, poured concrete and started building the decking frame. THEN my Mom shows up and says "OH NO, you shouldn't have used those poles because they have creosote"...and will make the pond toxic. Obviously, it would be a ton of work to take them out at this point. I've read in other forums that people use them with no obvious problems, but she said her and my Dad had built a dock back in the 70's and had to pull their poles out because they caused a film on the pond. Now I'm freaked out.
So my main question is---Is it possible to seal the poles so that there is no leaching?? A friend suggested using chlorinated rubber that is used in swimming pools. Will this work? Will ANYTHING work?
Thanks so much for any ideas or suggestions.

#382788 - 07/19/14 11:55 PM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
Rainman Offline
Field Correspondent
Hall of Fame


Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
I don't believe there is enough creosote that will be leached out to become any concern....much of the "scare" tactics used about creosote around playgrounds were based on some pretty biased interpretations.

Personally, in my pond, I would swim, eat fish and not worry in the slightest.....Also, there is a strong likelihood the poles were slathered in tar on the parts buried and had no creosote in them at all, ever....even if it was creosote, it is only in the part of the pole intended to be buried, not the entire length like railroad ties are.

Welcome to the forum!

Ask your local utility company what poles are treated with in different decades from about the 70-s to present.

Edited by Rainman (07/19/14 11:56 PM)


#382791 - 07/20/14 01:31 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: Rainman]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Even if the whole pole was treated, I still wouldn't worry about it. Think of how many gallons of water are in the pond vs. what might leach out of the poles. I wouldn't hesitate to eat fish out of the pond or swim in the pond either.

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#382799 - 07/20/14 06:22 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
Dave Davidson1 Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13783
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Lots of reasons for film on water. Think about this. One inch of water over one acre is 27,000 gallons. Calculate how many approximate inches of water you have and do the math.
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

#382805 - 07/20/14 07:27 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
fish n chips Offline

Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
All good advice so far. I used telephone poles on my dock and there has been no problems from it. Fish are good , swimming is good. It's too bad it won't kill of some herons and green sunfish!!!

I know how it can be tough convincing another elderly family member you are doing the right thing and leaving the poles won't make them happy. If they are watching you like a hawk ,go buy a can of spar varnish for 10-20 bucks and coat them. Heck, take a jar of water out there and brush them up thoroughly and tell them it is all good wink.

When you get a film on the water or troubles with fish, come back with photos and the good folks here will tell you what's really going on with that!

#382820 - 07/20/14 09:19 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
EMO Offline

Registered: 07/19/14
Posts: 2
Loc: MO
Thanks for the advice! I thought if I did try to seal them it might be that the sealant too would eventually leach into the water and so it would be pointless.

#382823 - 07/20/14 09:33 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
fish n chips Offline

Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
It most likely would. I see this as pacifying the other parties involved with no real end result. There probably is a product that is made just suited for this, but at what cost, and is there a real need.

Keep scouting the forum to learn more about your new pond. I bet ya you will learn things you never imagined of. Feel free to ask lots of question. What's your goal(s)for the pond? What would be an end result that you would say is success?

And by the way welcome to the forum!!!!

#382835 - 07/20/14 11:30 AM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
RAH Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4296
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I am another person who used telephone-pole piles with no problems.

#382849 - 07/20/14 04:10 PM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
catmandoo Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5694
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV

I think this study should help set your mind at ease.

New York State Assessment of Treated Wood in Wetlands

I have seen several others like this, from what I would consider non-biased research groups.

Good luck.
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#382870 - 07/20/14 09:02 PM Re: Sealing Old Telephone Poles For Use As Piers??? [Re: EMO]
DonoBBD Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1980
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
If they are in use them. If you want to replace them see if you can get a line on some purple hart maple from South America. It would be quite reasonable with the higher US dollar but not free as a hydro pole would be.

The piers the board walk in Atlantic city are made with are made with this wood and it will last forever. There is a bunch in Florida as well.

Cheers Don.


7/8th of an acre, Perch only pond, Ontario, Canada.


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