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CCA transport in soil from treated-timber posts: pattern dynamics from the local to regional scale

Author(s): B. E. Clothier | S. R. Green | I. Vogeler | M. M. Greven | R. Agnew | C. W. van den Dijssel | S. Neal | B. H. Robinson | P. Davidson

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
ISSN 1812-2108

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 2037;
Date: 2006;
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Winegrape growing in many parts of the world, including Marlborough, New Zealand, uses treated-timber posts to act as supports for the grapevine's canopy. At a density of 580 posts per hectare, the H4-process treated supports result in an areal loading of CCA of: Copper (12 kg-Cu ha−1), Chromium (21 kg-Cr ha−1) and Arsenic (17 kg-As ha−1). Arsenic is the most mobile and toxic of the CCA-treatment cocktail. We describe experiments which indicate that about 4–6 mg-As month−1 post−1 is released from the subterranean part of the post. We have used SPASMO (Soil Plant Atmosphere System Model) to predict post-to-soil leakage, as well as the pattern dynamics of leaching and exchange around the post. Locally the pattern dynamics of transport and fate are controlled by the soil's chemical characteristics and the prevailing weather. Over its 20-year lifetime, the concentration of arsenic, both that adsorbed on the soil and in the soil solution, exceeds guideline values for soils (100 mg-As kg−1) and drinking water (10 μg-As L−1). Under a regime of 5% annual replacement of posts, the spatially averaged concentration of arsenic leaching through the soil is predicted to rise to 1.25 to 1.7 times the drinking water standard, depending only slightly on the soil type. The steady value is primarily controlled by the arsenic-release rate from the post. These steady values were used in a simple hydrogeological model of the major Marlborough aquifer systems to determine whether the subterranean flow of water could dilute the descending plumes of arsenic coming from above. Except for the sluggish aquifers of the southern valleys in Marlborough, most of the aquifer systems seem capable of diluting the leachate to between one tenth and one twentieth of the drinking water standard. The upscaling of our modelling of the local pattern dynamics spanned six orders of spatial magnitude, and four orders of time dimension.

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