Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
Q Who is doing the spraying and what are they using?
A REU has contracted with Progressive Solutions, LLC, one of the nation’s premier companies in the application of chemicals to right-of-ways. Progressive Solutions provides services throughout the eastern United States. REU received positive references from current customers including TVA, LaFollette Utilities Board and Plateau Electric Cooperative before allowing Progressive Solutions to work on our system. REU’s specifications mandated that Progressive Solutions use only name brand herbicides that were EPA approved for safe use around wildlife, farm animals, and pets. Furthermore, these chemicals are required to be mixed and applied by trained applicators under the oversight of a licensed supervisor present at each job site. Material Safety Data Sheets of the chemicals used are available for download by clicking here.
Q Why are some locations brown while others appear nearly untouched?
A REU would not allow treatments to be applied haphazardly from a truck sprayer. All applications were done using low-volume backpack sprayers. Applicators are trained and contracted to apply treatment only to woody growth (i.e., trees) within the right-of-way that is normally maintained by Rockwood Electric using more traditional methods. Low growing shrubs, grasses, and wildflower areas were normally left untreated so that they might take over the entire area.
Q Doesn’t mowing remove the trees?
A Mowing is only a short-term remedy which must be done routinely and does not kill the root. After mowing, multiple new stalks emerge from the remaining stump of many of the invasive tree species that have taken over our power-line right-of-way. The mass of these stumps increases with each successive mowing making it more difficult and less productive. An herbicide application approximately every five (5) years will eliminate this root growth and progressively require less application. The intent is to minimize the number of times in the future that contractors or REU personnel will be on your property.
Q Will the application of herbicides replace mowing and trimming?
A The short answer is NO. Tree-trimming will always be a vital part of our right-of-way maintenance program and a vital concern to the utility and its ratepayers. We try to trim each electrical circuit in our service territory on a three- or four-year rotating basis. Right-of-way mowing and trimming will be quicker, easier, and less expensive in the future following the proper application of herbicides. Herbicide application should only be needed every five (5) years and future application should create significantly less “brown out” than the first application. Furthermore, the entire overhead electrical distribution system can be treated in about a month. Once again, this minimizes the length of time that crews are working in your area and on your property.
Q How will my electrical rates be affected by the application of herbicides?
A Right-of-way maintenance is one of the most significant expenses the utility has each year in its budget. The cost for using in-house and contract personnel and equipment to trim trees and mow beneath power lines increases nearly every year. The application of herbicides to retard or eliminate growth of woody substances within the power-line right-of-way is significantly less expensive than traditional tree-trimming and mowing methods. The application of herbicides should help control these escalating costs in the future which helps ensure economical rates.
Q Will the herbicides wash into my yard and kill my grass?
A Herbicides are not applied to wet foliage or within an hour of rain. The mix includes an ingredient which makes it somewhat gelatinous and gives it “weight” which minimizes drift, causes it to adhere to the foliage, and to be rapidly absorbed. Although the possibility exists, it is highly unlikely that any of the herbicide will wash onto your property and damage your lawn.
Q Will the herbicides affect my well-water?
A No. The compounds used for treatments on REU’s system were chosen because they degrade rapidly in soil and are shown not to leach into ground water. A highly effective herbicide suspected of leaching into groundwater was specifically rejected for use on our right-of-way.
Q What is next?
A Rockwood Electric Utility and its subcontractors will work aggressively to mow the areas where herbicides have been applied in order to minimize the unusual look. However, this takes time and we ask that you be patient with us while we work to improve the appearance in these areas.
Rockwood Electric Utility
341 W. Rockwood St.    |   P.O. Box 108
Rockwood, TN 37854
Phone (865) 354-0514 | Fax (865) 717-5436
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