Characterisation of used traction sand for utilization aspects in earth construction based on the requirements of Finnish environmental legislation

Risto Pöykiö, Mika Grönvall, Gary Watkins, Ilkka Välimäki, Paavo Perämäki, Olli Dahl


Finland launched a new Government Decree, the so-called MARA-regulation, on the utilization of certain wastes in earth construction on 1.1.2018. This statutory regulation sets limit values for the solubility of heavy metals (Sb, As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Mo, Ni, Se, Zn, V, Hg), chloride, sulphate, fluoride and dissolved organic carbon, as well as for organic substance (petroleum hydrocarbons, benzene, naphthalene, TEX (toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene), PAH-, phenolic- and PCB-compounds). In this case study, the concentrations of these harmful substances in the used traction sand collected in the city of Kemi, Northern Finland, were lower than their limit values set in the MARA-regulation. Therefore, this residue is a potential material to be used at earth construction sites such as in roads and roadways, in field and embankment structures, as well as in floor structures of industrial or storage buildings. However, if the used traction sand is to be utilized for these kinds of civil engineering purposes, an environmental permit is still needed because this material is not yet included in the scope of the MARA-regulation. This paper also gives an overview of the relevant Finnish environmental legislation on the utilization of wastes as an earth construction material.


BCR extraction, circular economy, civil engineering, construction, MARA-regulation, recycled material, waste

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