Quantities of arsenic-treated wood in demolition debris generated by Hurricane Katrina

Brajesh Dubey, Helena M. Solo-Gabriele, Timothy G. Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The disaster debris from Hurricane Katrina is one of the largest in terms of volume and economic loss in American history. One of the major components of the demolition debris is wood waste of which a significant proportion is treated with preservatives, including preservatives containing arsenic. As a result of the large scale destruction of treated wood structures such as electrical poles, fences, decks, and homes a considerable amount of treated wood and consequently arsenic will be disposed as disaster debris. In this study an effort was made to estimate the quantity of arsenic disposed through demolition debris generated in the Louisiana and Mississippi area through Hurricane Katrina. Of the 72 million cubic meters of disaster debris generated, roughly 12 million cubic meters were in the form of construction and demolition wood resulting in an estimated 1740 metric tons of arsenic disposed. Management of disaster debris should consider the relatively large quantities of arsenic associated with pressure-treated wood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1533-1536
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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