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Raised Garden Beds

Q.Damaged And Splintering Railroad Ties

Zone 03833 | bourbeau9685 added on June 19, 2020 | Answered

I noticed you posted a railroad tie article and was curious if it was safe to use a shop vac to vacuum up splintered railroad ties. I have a two year old and am concerned about her safety with the dust getting kicked up by the wind. I’d also be curious how you’d recommend a contractor safely remove splintered ties without strewing creosote and dust al over my property when they remove them since they’re are damaged and splintered.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 19, 2020

Unfortunately, it has already been leaching out into the area since they were installed. They should not be used, at all, for gardening. The splintering has not made it any more dangerous than it has been, other than the chance of getting one of those in your foot.

Vacuuming the pieces will not put you in any more danger than using it as a garden border will. It will all carry, about, the same risk over time.

Personally, I would have them removed and replaced with anything else to stop the chemical leaching that is occurring over time, but using a shop vac for the pieces can be OK for now.

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