Beneficiation of concrete wash water with carbon dioxide

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Wash water is generated as a by-product of ready mixed concrete production. Reuse of the water as mixture water is limited, in practice, by the negative material performance impacts associated with the water chemistry and suspended solids (i.e. hydrating binder phases and very fine aggregate); the effects are intensified with increasing content of suspended solids and water age. A novel carbon dioxide treatment to allow the use of high solids wash water as mixture water was examined through mortar and concrete testing. An industrially sourced wash water with a specific gravity of over 1.20 was treated with CO2. Seven batches of concrete were produced and compared: a reference mixture at three different w/b, and four batches with a 6% reduction in cement where wash water was used as mixture water (diluted to a specific gravity of 1.08, comparing untreated versus CO2 treated conditions, aged either 1 day or 5 days). The treatment mineralized CO2 at 27% by weight of the cement in the solids and reduced or eliminated negative aspects associated with the untreated water (set acceleration, workability loss, strength reduction with water age). The CO2-treated solids displayed latent hydraulicity. The approach allows three waste streams (CO2, wash water and wash water solids) to be reused to produce more sustainable concrete.

Publication Title

Materials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions