Quantcast Wood Protection in the Marine Environment - fy97_030001

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8 APRIL 97
From: Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC Criteria Office)
Encl: (1) "Current and Proposed Navy Practices for Wood Protection in the Marine
Environment," TM-2159-OCN by David Pendleton, NFESC of Nov 95
1. Purpose: The purpose of this guidance is to advise facility engineers, planners, and
maintenance personnel of environmentally acceptable protection measures for timber placed in
the marine environment. Retain this guidance until it is incorporated into the criteria noted in
paragraph 5.
2. Background: The Navy owns hundreds of waterfront structures built wholly or partially
with timber components. One study noted over 200,000 bearing and fender timber piles in the
Navy inventory. Designers usually protect these components from destructive marine
organisms by arsenical salt pressure treatment, creosote pressure treatment, or plastic
wrapping. However, several concerns have arisen recently regarding the environmental
impact of treated timber in the delicate marine environment. Many designers have become
reluctant to specify treated timber in waterfront structures due to concerns regarding
environmental viability. Some locations on the west coast have restricted the use of certain
types of pressure treatment due to local environmental regulations. However, inconsistent
application of these regulations throughout the country has resulted in serious concerns over
liability and responsibility. To respond to these concerns, the NAVFAC Criteria Office
commissioned NFESC to determine the environmental viability of various timber protection
3. Discussion: Enclosure (1) explains the results of the study conducted by NFESC on
treated timber viability. In summary, Federal environmental regulations do not restrict the use
of treated wood for its intended purpose - in this case, marine structural components. These
components are normally pressure treated with the EPA-registered pesticides of arsenical salts
or creosote. It also appears that wood products will continue to be treated in the future. One
study conducted in 1994 by the Marine Resources Division, South Carolina Department of
Natural Resources, indicates that wood preservative leachates from marine piling in tidal
estuaries have no acutely toxic effects on the five types of marine life tested. In general,
treated wood removed from service may be classified as hazardous waste according to some
local regulations; but, it is not banned from landfills by Federal


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