Article authored by Dr. Andy Zahora, Senior Research Scientist with Viance, LLC.
In many regions of the United States and Canada utility companies are making increasing use of boom/bucket trucks for above ground line/equipment maintenance, but physical climbing of poles by lineman is still necessary and indeed preferred in some circumstances. It is well established that poles treated with oil-borne preservative systems such as pentachlorophenol (penta) are considered by linemen to be safer and easier to climb than water-borne preservative systems such as CCA. DCOI-A in an HSA solvent system was recently standardized by AWPA as an alternative to penta for utility poles and there is a need for data that demonstrate if this new system will have any impact on pole climbability.
The climbability of the DCOI-A treatment in southern pine was compared to penta using gaff and pilodyn pin penetration measurements. Pole sections were quartered, with different sections of the same poles treated with either DCOI-A or penta in an HSA solvent system. CCA was included as a “harder-to-climb” reference system. Results from “slide-hammer gaff” penetration and pilodyn pin penetration tests showed there was no difference in the depth of penetration into DCOI-A and penta treated pole sections. Results from both test methods revealed that gaff and pilodyn pin penetration into the oil-borne treated samples were about 20-25% deeper than in the matched CCA treated pole sections.