Leaching of CCA-treated wood: Implications for waste disposal

Timothy Townsend, Thabet Tolaymat, Helena Solo-Gabriele, Brajesh Dubey, Kristin Stook, Lakmini Wadanambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Leaching of arsenic, chromium, and copper from chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood poses possible environmental risk when disposed. Samples of un-weathered CCA-treated wood were tested using a variety of the US regulatory leaching procedures, including the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP), synthetic precipitation leaching procedure (SPLP), extraction procedure toxicity method (EPTOX), waste extraction test (WET), multiple extraction procedure (MEP), and modifications of these procedures which utilized actual MSW landfill leachates, a construction and demolition (C&D) debris leachate, and a concrete enhanced leachate. Additional experiments were conducted to assess factors affecting leaching, such as particle size, pH, and leaching contact time. Results from the regulatory leaching tests provided similar results with the exception of the WET, which extracted greater quantities of metals. Experiments conducted using actual MSW leachate, C&D debris leachate, and concrete enhanced leachate provided results that were within the same order of magnitude as results obtained from TCLP, SPLP, and EPTOX. Eleven of 13 samples of CCA-treated dimensional lumber exceeded the US EPA's toxicity characteristic (TC) threshold for arsenic (5 mg/L). If un-weathered arsenic-treated wood were not otherwise excluded from the definition of hazardous waste, it frequently would require management as such. When extracted with simulated rainwater (SPLP), 9 of the 13 samples leached arsenic at concentrations above 5 mg/L. Metal leachability tended to increase with decreasing particle size and at pH extremes. All three metals leached above the drinking water standards thus possibly posing a potential risk to groundwater. Arsenic is a major concern from a disposal point of view with respect to ground water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-91
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Oct 18 2004


  • CCA-treated wood
  • Metal leaching
  • pH
  • TCLP
  • WET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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