Tar on Telephone Poles

I noticed that on the telephone poles in my area, that at the base (where the poles goes into the ground), there appears to be tar that was put on the poles. This tar is only at the bottom and appears that it was just “painted” on. Why is this tar looking substance on the poles?

It’s creosote. It keeps 'em from rotting. It’s on the part that’s buried, too.

I’ve heard that creosote has been banned in Mo. My Father was running some power lines on his property, and was told by the power company that they no longer use it because it is banned. I have heard (sorry, no cite) that PCB’s are present in the creosote that is formed in word burning stoves. If this is true, perhaps that is why the use of commercial creosote was banned. Of course, all the old poles will still have creosote on them, and the new ones will rot away.

This substance is not banned in the UK.Today I drove past a site in Boston (Lincolnshire)where these poles are produced and you can smell the creosote half a mile away.Glad I don’t live near there.For home use ,for such things as fence painting,most people use substitutes which are water soluable and do not effect plants and grass.

I apologize, but I can’t resist this: Is a “word burning stove” a tool that censors use?


Creosote has always been my favorite word. Something beautiful about that word.

Oh sh*t! It’s Mr. Creosote!!!

Interesting, just recently they found 4x usual PCB amounts in our local waters around the Monterey Bay area. They don’t know where it comes from though. Our poles are old. Wonder if the rain washes this down into the sea?