Field leaching of alkaline copper quaternary-treated red pine lumber over 3 years: long-term dynamics

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), a wood preservative, consists of copper oxide and quaternary ammonium compounds. Three red pine piles were monitored over 3 years to evaluate the dynamics of contaminant leaching from ACQ-treated and untreated lumber. There were small temporal changes in the volumetric leachate/rain ratio with the ACQ-treated lumber, while the volumetric ratio decreased across the 3 years with the untreated lumber, most likely due to considerable weathering that increased the capacity of the untreated lumber to absorb rain water. The average copper (Cu) concentration in leachate from the ACQ-treated lumber (4,033 μg/L) was much higher than that in leachate from the untreated lumber (87 μg/L) and rain (48 μg/L) in the first leaching year. Cu concentration in leachate from the ACQ-treated lumber in the second and third years decreased to 46–51% of that in the first year. There were significant seasonal decreases of Cu concentration in leachate from the ACQ-treated lumber, which were correlated to exposure time and meteorological parameters. ACQ-treatment did not affect leachate pH and concentrations of quaternary ammonium compounds and chemical oxygen demand. There were insignificant temporal changes of leachate pH and concentrations of chemical oxygen demand and total dissolved solids in leachate from both ACQ-treated and untreated lumber piles.

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