Wooden utility poles are often treated with products that act as preservative, pesticides, or both. Treated utility poles last for several years longer than they would if they were untreated, and today’s modern treatment methods and products are far safer for the environment than those used years ago.
There are several different types of treated wood utility poles available, but we’re going to cover three of the more common types that you will find.
Penta poles are utility poles that are treated with pentachlorophenol, otherwise known as penta. Penta acts as a preservative that has shown to extend the life of a utility pole to up to 20 times longer than its normal life expectancy as well as an effective pesticide. It leaves the wood highly resistant to wood-killing fungi as well as termites and other dangerous insects.
In the past, the penta used in the treatment process was delivered using a petroleum-based oil, but these days it is just as common to find utility poles treated using biodiesel. Biodiesel is derived from crops such as corn and soy, making it far more sustainable than petroleum.
CCA stands for Chromated Copper Arsenate, a treatment that renders wood fibers useless as a food source for fungi and termites. Since CCA is an oxide formulation rather than a salt, providing low corrosiveness and conductivity. It is also highly resistant to leaching, making it the utility pole of choice for those who want a more environmentally-friendly product. Since CCA poles are so resistant to leaching, they are clean to the touch and will not stain equipment or clothing when workers have to climb them to do their jobs.
CCA-ET poles are CCA poles that are treated with a mineral oil emulsion in their outer layers. This additive that is used in the emulsion process acts as a lubricant, making the poles easier to climb without affecting the properties of the CCA. These poles can be handled without special precautions, yet they are just as resistant to pests and the elements as other CCA utility poles.