188.8.131.52 Inspection Procedures. The purpose of a pole inspection
is to: (1) identify poles that are dangerous and should be replaced and (2)
identify poles which are in the early stages of deterioration so that correc-
tive actions can be taken.
Visual. A visual examination of the poles, using binoculars to inspect tops,
can provide valuable information regarding the pole's condition.
Decay. Machine-damaged areas and checks should be critically examined
during visual inspection. The size and location of seasoning checks should
be noted. In general, the wider the check, the deeper it penetrates and the
more likely untreated heartwood is exposed. Remember, only decay in the
advanced stages is readily apparent. The presence of fungi in wood where
decay has not progressed appreciably can be detected only by culturing or
microscopic examination of the wood. Early decay can extend four feet or
more above internal, visibly rotten areas in Douglas-fir poles. Surface decay
usually occurs within the first 12 to 18 inches below the ground line, so
digging is generally necessary to detect it. Periodic application of
groundline preservative treatments will prevent and/or control this type of
Termites and Carpenter Ants. These insects infest the internal untreated
portion of poles. Therefore, little external visual evidence of their presence
is apparent. Some termite galleries may be present if the insects are trying
to bridge over treated wood. In addition, if a carpenter ant infestation has
occurred, scattered bits of very fibrous and sawdust-like frass may be
present in the area. Since a break in the protective shell must occur before
these insects can reach and infest the untreated wood, decay is also likely
to be present.
Vertebrate Organisms. Damage from vertebrate organisms, such as wood-
peckers, is usually apparent. Binoculars should be used when inspecting
large poles. If the damage is fresh, broken pieces of wood from the
excavated hole should be present on the ground. Decay will be associated
with older damage.
Vertebrate control may require permits from the Federal government or
state. Recommendations and assistance for control should be obtained
from the cognizant EFD [Appendix (A)].
Mechanical. Mechanical damage is generally obvious and found in the
ground line area to a few feet above the ground.