San Rafael residents voicing concerns over SMART’s wood railroad ties

San Rafael residents voicing concerns over SMART’s wood railroad ties

Marin IJ | Mark Prado | posted: 2/20/2015

Several residents who live near Los Ranchitos Road in San Rafael are asking that work on the SMART rail project stop until the agency can address why wood ties thought to be filled with creosote are being stacked and used in their neighborhood.

The rail agency’s top official said he is investigating the claims after several residents voiced their concerns directly to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Board of Directors this week.

One resident complained the smell from the ties stacked near his home for the past several weeks wreaked havoc on his life.

“I haven’t been able to breathe the air behind by house for the last two months,” John O’Rourke said. “The stench was unbelievable and we started getting headaches. I can’t open the windows in my house because we cannot breathe.”

O’Rourke was one of about a half dozen residents who raised concerns about the wood ties at the meeting.

Creosote is a possible human carcinogen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Wooden ties are injected with creosote, a byproduct of the coal industry, and used to delay decay.

Complete article here.