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Researchers: Treated wood poses long-term threat

all fraction leaches in any given year," Solo-Gabriele told Environmental Science & Technology Online News, the journal's news section. But because the wood can be in the ground for several years "the impacts can be significant, especially given the high concentrations of arsenic in the wood itself."

The researchers concluded that by 2000, Florida had imported 28,000 metric tons of arsenic, 4,600 of which have already leached into the environment, according to one of their papers. They predicted that as much as 11,000 additional tons of arsenic will leach from decks and other structures in the next 40 years.

That suggests that managers may want to carefully consider what should be the final resting place for CCA-treated wood that has been taken out of service, Townsend said.

"These estimates provide decision-makers with information that helps them decide whether or not CCA-treated wood should go into lined or unlined landfills," he said.

Unfortunately, however, that won't end the problem. A mathematical model based on the researchers' experiments estimated that between 20 and 50 tons of arsenic may have leached into construction and demolition landfills in Florida before 2000, with an expected increase of between 350 and 830 tons of the heavy metal by 2040.

Florida law does not require that construction-and-demolition landfills be equipped with linings. Although there isn't yet much evidence of groundwater contamination in monitoring wells around those landfills, that could well become a problem, said John Schert, director of the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.

"The leaching research conducted by the team suggests that arsenic contamination of the groundwater under these landfills may be a large future problem that future generations have to deal with," Schert said.

One possible solution is to require linings, Schert said. However, that might put many of the landfills out of busines
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Source:University of Florida


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