Disposal of discarded chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood in landfills raises concerns with respect to leaching of preservative compounds. When unweathered CCA-treated wood is leached using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP), arsenic concentrations exceed the toxicity characteristic (TC) limit of 5 mg/L in most cases. The majority of discarded CCA-treated wood, however, results from demolition activities, where the wood has typically been subjected to weathering. Since preservatives do migrate from the wood during its normal use, leaching characteristics of weathered and aged CCA-treated wood may differ from unweathered wood. To evaluate this, CCA-treated wood removed from service after various degrees of weathering was collected from multiple sources and leached with the TCLP, the synthetic precipitation leaching procedure (SPLP) and California's waste extraction test (WET). Five to seven individual pieces of wood were analyzed from each source. The average TCLP arsenic concentration for the 14 sources ranged from 3.2 to 13 mg/L. The average TCLP concentrations of the 100 wood pieces tested were 6.4, 5.9 and 3.2 mg/L for arsenic, copper and chromium, respectively. Overall, in 60 out of 100 samples tested by the TCLP, arsenic concentrations exceeded 5 mg/L (the TC regulatory value). SPLP leachate concentrations were similar to TCLP concentrations, although copper leached somewhat more with the TCLP. WET leachate concentrations were approximately a factor of 10 higher than TCLP concentrations. Discarded CCA-treated wood, even after exposure to years of weathering, often exceeds the TC limit for arsenic and without the current regulatory exemption would possibly require management as a TC hazardous waste in the US.
- Discarded treated wood
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law