Letters to the Editor

Questions long-term impact of creosote

Regarding the story, “Big help for beleaguered estuary,” page 1A, March 18 Herald:

Doe-Keg-Wats  is a special, wonderful and sacred place dear to our heart and many hearts. It is one of central Puget Sound’s most beautiful beaches and largest collector of flotsam and jetsam. It is a driftwood lumber yard and a beachcomber’s hardware store.

Sadly, the drift includes non-biodegradable litter, plastics, pressure-treated wood, oil spills, and cultural items all too natural to our world today and unnatural not many generations ago. The deterioration of these items can’t be good and the shore is surely worthy of our best “Adopt-A-Beach” volunteers.

This begs a question: When will DNR complete the job they started removing creosoted wood at Hawley Cove Wetland at Eagle Harbor, where they removed only the few logs charted along the shore that people see and left dozens previously surveyed and identified within the wetlands?

Creosote pilings have NOT been used for centuries as this story generalizes. The 1902 Winslow Shipyard did not have creosote piling, as Pacific Creosote Co. across the harbor wasn’t making treated wood products until 1905. Few if any of the assorted products they manufactured then to conserve wood are still around — street pavers, municipal water pipe, bridges, railroad ties, etc. Some studies, including one by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggest that over time there is little environmental hazard.

Nothing lasts forever, especially wood in this climate — except, hopefully, the DNR’s budget.


Gerald Elfendahl
Bainbridge Island

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