Characteristics of chromated copper arsenate-treated wood ash

Helena M. Solo-Gabriele, Timothy G. Townsend, Brian Messick, Vandin Calitu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The combustion of recovered wood from construction and demolition waste as biomass fuel is a common practice. When chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood is present as part of the wood fuel mix, concentrations of arsenic, chromium, and copper become elevated in the ash. The objectives of this study were to estimate the fraction of CCA-treated wood needed to cause the ash to fail regulatory guidelines and to test a series of solvents for the purpose of extracting the metals from the ash. Ash samples were prepared in an industrial furnace using samples of CCA-treated wood, mixtures of CCA-treated wood and untreated wood, and recycled wood waste collected at construction and demolition recycling facilities. Regulatory guidelines were evaluated by measuring total metals concentrations (using neutron activation analysis) and by conducting standardized leaching tests (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) and synthetic precipitation leaching procedure (SPLP)) on the ash. Ten different solvents, ranging from distilled water to strong acids, were also tested for their ability to extract metals. Results of this study indicate that metal concentrations (chromium plus copper plus arsenic) can be as high as 36% of the ash by weight for treated wood samples containing high retention levels (40kg/m3) of CCA. All ash samples from the combustion of 100% CCA-treated wood and mixtures containing 5% CCA-treated wood leached enough arsenic (and sometimes chromium) to be characterized as a hazardous waste under US regulations. Concentrated nitric acid, which was the most effective solvent tested, was capable of removing between 70 and 100% of the copper, between 20 and 60% of the chromium, and 60 and 100% of the arsenic for samples characterized by low retention levels. A particular finding of interest was the efficiency of distilled water and other weak solvents to extract measurable amounts of chromium, especially for ash samples containing low retention levels of CCA. Citric acid was particularly effective at removing arsenic (between 40 and 100%) for ash samples produced from wood containing low CCA retention levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 28 2002


  • Arsenic
  • Ash
  • CCA
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Incineration
  • Recycling
  • Solid waste
  • SPLP
  • TCLP
  • Treated wood
  • Waste wood
  • Wood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Environmental Engineering


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