Following the unprecedented bushfires in SE NSW in January 2020, Essential Energy will be making unburnt sections of redundant timber power poles available to the public, free of charge.

It is intended that the timber poles will be used to assist communities in their rebuilding efforts, such as for fences.

Working in collaboration with local councils, the timber will be stockpiled in locations listed below during normal business hours.

The devastating bushfires that tore across the South East of NSW in January 2020 caused extensive damage to the electricity network across the South Coast, Snowy Valleys and Riverina.

At the height of the fires more than 37,000 customers were without power.

Crews are in the process of replacing burnt and damaged power poles from the fires with almost 2,000 poles identified for replacement.

The unburnt sections of the damaged power poles are being made available for community use.

Collection contacts

Bega
Andrew Taylor, Local Land Services, Phone 0428419679

Tumut
Christine Male, Blaze Aid, Adelong, Phone 0418745994
Kevin French, Blaze Aid, Adelong, Phone 0417374054

Usage of treated timber

Treated timber should not be used in the following situations:

  • Where it will be in direct contact with foodstuffs (eg crates, beehives, countertops)
  • Where it will be in direct contact with drinking water (eg tanks and troughs)
  • Where it will be in regular contact with skin (eg garden furniture, children’s play equipment, domestic decking and handrails)

Safety precautions

  • Always wear protective gloves when handling poles and avoid contacting exposed skin with soiled gloves
  • When cutting, drilling or using poles in a way that creates dust, protective eyewear and a disposable P2 respirator should be worn in addition to protective gloves
  • Protective coveralls and impervious boots are recommended where close contact with poles is necessary
  • Always practice good hygiene habits after handling poles, especially before eating or food preparation
  • In case of exposure to open skin, eyes or mouth, contacts the Poisons Information Centre on 131126 and explain possible exposure to CCA (Copper, Chrome and Arsenic), or Creosote. These are the most commonly used chemicals in timber pole treatment
  • Never burn treated timber poles as they may emit poisonous gases

Questions and answers

Q. What happens if the treated timber pole is burnt?

A. If you accidentally burn a treated timber pole:

  • Do not touch the ash with your bare skin, and avoid disturbing or spreading it
  • Wear PVC chemical resistant gloves, protective eyewear and a disposable P2 respirator whilst working with the ash
  • Moisten the ash prior to handling with a shovel, store it in a heavy-duty plastic bag and dispose of it at a licensed waste disposal facility (check with your local council). Remove and launder clothing and clean your footwear, PPE and any equipment thoroughly
  • Wash your hands properly after finishing work, and before eating or preparing food

Q. What should I do if contact with ash occurs?

A. If you have ingested a toxic amount of CCA ash, you may develop vomiting and diarrhoea, have itchy skin or a skin rash, or be excessively thirsty. Anyone who suspects they have ingested ash should seek medical attention as soon as possible, or present to the nearest hospital if they are ill.

If in doubt about dealing with burnt poles, contact us on 132391 for assistance.