Creosote Laden Wood to be Removed from Higgins Beach
A Project Coordinated and Funded by the Maine Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
The owner of the ‘Silver Sands Inn’ property at Higgins Beach, a coastal environmentalist, is intent on having creosote soaked wood removed from the dune and properly disposed of to deter any further beach and ocean contamination from this source. In so doing, the Maine Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a grass roots environmental group that seeks to preserve and protect our coastline, volunteered to coordinate and fund the project.
More than a decade of research is proving toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals leach out of creosote soaked logs into the surrounding environment and are a danger to the health of animals and people. Evidence shows that the toxicity of creosote causes damage to the eggs of small forage fish and other organisms that are the foundation of the food web, and essential to salmon, birds and other wildlife.
Creosote has been used for over 100 years as a marine wood preservative to keep wood damaging critters out. Now, this wood in the form of old telephone poles and pier pilings washes up onto Maine beaches. In the case of the old Silver Sands Inn property there is also reason to believe some of these creosote soaked logs were dumped here by an unknown source. The logs are now considered hazardous waste, harmful to the natural habitat of Higgins Beach.
The highly contaminated wood is scheduled to be collected by Surfrider volunteers Wednesday June 20 at 7pm, International Surfing Day, a day set aside annually on the summer solstice to promote coastal awareness around the world.
Photos by Wesley Franklin