An environmental risk assessment of the creosote bleedings at the Howick Pole Yard.
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Many local authorities are major polluters and are ignoring each and every rule in the book. Raw sewerage is dumped in to rivers and the Vaal River is already a national health threat. Pollution of land, air and water is a common consequence by large corporations capable of causing harm to humans and other living organisms. Research on the pollution of these key natural resources is required to understand cumulative impacts, so as to take measures of precaution to minimize such pollution and reduce its consequences. Risk Assessments are therefore encouraged to identify and explore in quantitative terms, the types, intensities and likelihood of undesired consequences related to the risk of pollution. This study has identified a potential risk from creosote bleedings at Eskom pole yards and aims to explore the probability of such occurrences cumulatively so as to identify precautionary measures at the forefront of this problem to develop effective contingency plans. Soil samples were collected systematically and analysed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a component of creosote that preserves wood. Studies have indicated that concentrations of this preservative beyond acceptable limits can impact negatively on natural resources especially water and soil. The laboratory analysed data indicates that the soil samples collected from the Howick Pole Yard were contaminated with PAH beyond the threshold values. The severity of the contamination, as determined by the application of the Risk Assessment tool, indicates that mitigation measures are essential.