Mulch made from recycled construction and demolition (C&D) wood has been reported to contain elevated levels of arsenic from inadvertent inclusion of chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood. Such mulch is also commonly colored with iron oxide, a compound known to bind arsenic. The objectives of this study were to quantify the releases of arsenic from mulch made from C&D wood, to evaluate the impacts of an iron-oxide colorant in potentially decreasing arsenic leaching rates, and to evaluate the relative significance of additional variables on leachate concentrations. A total of 3 sets of mulch samples (0%, 5%, or 100% CCA-treated wood) were prepared containing a sample either with or without colorant addition. Each sample was subjected to two tests: a field leaching test and the Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (SPLP). Results showed that arsenic concentrations in the field leachate from the 0% treated wood mulches were consistently low (<0.003-0.013 mg/L) whereas leachates from 5 and 100% treated wood mulches were characterized by higher arsenic concentrations (0.059-2.23 mg/L for 5%; 0.711-22.7 mg/L for 100%). The mass of arsenic leached from the field samples during the 1-year monitoring period was between 10 and 15% of the initial mass of arsenic. The colorant reduced the leaching of arsenic by more than 20% for the field leachate and 50% for the SPLP leachate, on average. However, the study showed that the effect may not last for long periods. Besides colorant addition other factors were observed to affect the amount of arsenic leached from contaminated mulch. These include the proportion of CCA-treated wood in the mulch, time, and pH of rainfall.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry