Have you recently removed an old vineyard that had treated grape stakes and now have piles sitting on your property and don’t know how to get rid of them?

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial assistance to California grape growers to help properly dispose of chemically-treated wooden stakes. Treated grape stakes are typically treated with preserving chemicals that protect the wood from insect attack and fungal decay. Chemicals added to preserve wood and known to be toxic or carcinogenic include arsenic, chromium, copper, creosote, and pentachlorophenol. Burning treated grape stakes is prohibited by law.

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control requires that chemically-treated wood be disposed of in an approved landfill. Landfills that accept chemically-treated wood can be found at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/upload/TWW_Confirmed_Landfill_List.pdf.

There are five approved landfills located in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

— Program guidelines:

California growers must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for payments.

• Chemically treated wood stakes used as crop support structures are eligible.

• Payments apply to the proper loading, transportation, and disposal of chemically-treated wood stakes.

• The priority is given to existing piles or stacks of chemically-treated wood stakes and to those growers that have switched to other types of materials for support systems.

• Disposal must be at DTSC approved landfills.

• All applicable permits must be procured by the grower prior to disposal.

• The minimum contract length is two years. Payment assistance is available one time per site location.

• Payment rate is $125 per acre, based on 1.5 tons of treated wooden stakes per acre and a maximum of 310 tons per contract.

For more information about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, please contact your local USDA Service Center, listed in the government section of the phone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Information is also available on the Internet at: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.