Report claims PSEG poles are tainting soil with wood preservative pentachlorophenol

Environmentalists say penta poses a risk to people's health and the environment. (5/19/14)

EAST HAMPTON - A new report from a consulting group says transmission poles installed by PSEG Long Island may be tainting soil in East Hampton.

Rebecca Singer heads an organization formed to fight the installation of the PSEG LI power poles. She says testing performed by Dermody, a Center Moriches environmental consulting company, has confirmed the presence of pentachlorophenol, a toxic wood preservative that’s also known as penta. The group says the chemical has been leaching into the ground from the poles and is possibly threatening the ground water.

Elevated levels of penta were found around three poles in the Town of East Hampton.

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Singer says her organization has made several attempts to contact PSEG LI requesting to have the toxic soil removed, but the power company has not responded.

PSEG LI officials issued a statement saying, “The health and welfare of their customers and employees is a top priority and that the EPA has approved the use of penta in utility poles for more than 60 years… PSEG LI does not apply penta to the poles; instead they are treated with penta by the manufacturer.”

Dermody told News 12 that the penta appears to have been poured directly onto the soil at the base of the poles.

“They banned penta in 26 countries. They banned it in the US in 1986 for public use. What is it doing in public use on our streets?” says Singer.

The group Long Island Businesses for Responsible Energy says it will be filing a lawsuit against PSEG Long Island for its installation of the poles.

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