neutralizing sulphuric acid
|467 forum posts|
I have plastic dustbin half full of dilute sulphuric acid. I also have some calcium carbonate (limestone) with which to neutralize it in order to dispose of it safely.
Can anyone tell me if adding the calcium to the acid will cause a violent reaction?
|4976 forum posts|
Shouldn't be violent unless the Limestone is in powder form. If you have lumps of rock try adding one about the size of your fist and see what happens.
Sulphuric Acid is a common drain un-blocker and it's unlikely do much damage if you pour it straight down an outside drain. Especially if you dilute it with plenty of water. Adding Limestone will react to make Carbon Dioxide and insoluble Calcium Sulphate, a fine white powder. Don't put the sludge down a drain, OK to scatter it on the garden but it may look as if you've spilled paint!
Avoid getting splashes of dilute acid on your clothes. Unless washed off, it tends to concentrate and rot cloth.
Safety gear; just in case of splashes I'd wear googles, rubber gloves, and a plastic apron. Also a bucket of clean water handy nearby. Mildly sensible precautions, it's not Novichok!
|Russell Eberhardt||14/06/2019 16:40:24|
2501 forum posts
Adding calcium to the acid might cause a violent reaction. However adding calcium carbonate will not provided you add it carefully rather than chucking the whole lot in in one go. I've used washing soda for the same purpose with no problem.
|449 forum posts|
I am not recommending anything here, but years ago, every telephone exchange had lead acid batteries large enough to run the exchange for eight hours in the event of a power failure. In large exchanges, the individual cells were lead line wooden boxes about three feet high; quite large, and containing a lot of sulphuric acid. Occasionally one or more would have to be emptied; occasionally the whole battery; and the written instructions in "E.I."s (engineering instructions) were, depending where the exchange was located, to notify the "water board" then flush the acid down the drain.This would have happened a lot in the 1960s when the old manual exchanges were being changed the automatic. Whether this was allowable depended I believe, on how the local sewage works operated.
|868 forum posts|
I just pour mine straight down the drain as it is for disposal. One shot drain cleaner which I use as a pickle is sulphuric acid which is put down the drain neat.
I think your diluted is less likely to cause a problem.
|Nigel Graham 2||15/06/2019 16:18:23|
|452 forum posts|
The calcium sulphate resulting from using limestone as a neutraliser is quite benign stuff. It occurs in Nature as the rock, gypsum. If disposing of it in the garden, I'd dig it into a fairly wide area of soil.
(I say "benign" aware anyone in Ripon would not be inclined to think it so....)
|Blue Heeler||16/06/2019 08:16:16|
189 forum posts
Just pour it straight down your drain and clean out any fats in your pipework.
|Paul Lousick||16/06/2019 08:36:56|
|1246 forum posts|
Just my opinion but I do not like pouring anything down the drain except water. I hear about too much rubbish being sent out to sea to feed our marine life. Not my problem some say. Our kids to will fix any problems. Not sure about the UK but we have drop off centres and council collections which will dispose of chemicals, paints, etc (sorry about the rave but we are killing our planet).
|Nigel Graham 2||16/06/2019 09:18:14|
|452 forum posts|
No chemicals other than proper drain-cleaners should be put down the drain - and anyway alkalis are better then acids for clearing the fat that shouldn't be down there either.
The councils in the UK do indeed have proper collection-points for bulky refuse, old oil and paint etc., but whether they can handle strong acids is another matter. Sulphuric acid is not a common household material, so the council yards can't really be expected to be able to take them.
It might be possible to find a garage or industrial premises able to dispose of them for you along with their hazardous chemical waste, though they might charge for the service, and they must by law ensure all their waste materials are recorded and collected by companies accredited and licensed for the purpose. This could mean you'd have to submit the appropriate legal safety documents with the material, but that would be a matter for whoever collects it from you to decide.
(The Council yards don't do that for household chemicals - presumably their system is designed so the burden does not fall unfairly on the private individual, which anyway would make the whole thing ridiculously complicated.)
One point though, Paul, the drains don't go directly to sea outfalls but to treatment-plants that decompose the solids and leave the water pure enough for such discharge (though it's still rich in germs). So adding chemicals is still bad because it can damage the biological action in the sewage works.
|823 forum posts|
My local council recycling centre took a litre of hydrochloric acid from me. I am sure they would accept dilute sulphuric acid although half a dustbin may be a bit much for one visit.
A few years ago there was a thread about disposing of a small amount of hydrofluoric acid. In the end a local recycling centre accepted it without question and in a responsible manner.
Edited By JA on 16/06/2019 09:30:43
|215 forum posts|
Last month there was a very interesting report on the condition of East Anglian rivers (and I expect it would apply to anywhere in the UK), and it highlighted that a high level of cocaine is now present in our rivers! Micro plastic is also extremely high and of course finds it's way into the food chain. This is caused by washing plastic clothes in the washing machine!
I regularly walk the bank of my local river and the fish seem very happy!!
|4976 forum posts|
A very sensible reminder Paul. Just about the only thing I would pour down the drain apart from water and normal biological waste is dilute Sulphuric Acid, and then only in domestic quantities. Oils, other mineral acids, paint, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, you name it - all bad.
Human waste needs special treatment in a Sewage Works, and it's best not to interfere with the process of making the biohazard safe by flushing dodgy chemicals down the bog.
UK Councils Waste Centres take chemicals, though - because not all are equipped to deal with everything - it might be necessary to ask first.
In the UK we have a regulation requiring dog owners to bag and remove the animal's poo. Lots of dogs doing their business in the streets and children's playparks. Apart from the slimy distress caused by standing in it, dog poo spreads unpleasant diseases, notably Toxicaria. Bagging and sending to land-fill fixes the problem. Why then do so many dog owners carefully hang the bagged mess in the nearest hedge or tree, thus adding plastic and an offensive eye-sore to the problem?
|Barrie Lever||16/06/2019 10:18:41|
|324 forum posts|
If you have to take responsibility for your sewage systems correct functioning as we do with a micro sewage treatment plant, then you take a whole different approch to flushing anything other than human waste down the toilet !!
A micro plant can easily get upset by chemicals that it is not able to deal with, the water companies must struggle with this in the big city sewage plants.
|Rob Gore||16/06/2019 11:28:22|
|1 forum posts|
I would just pour it down the drain after neutralising with calcium carbonate. Even if you poured it down without first neutralising, I doubt that it would cause any issues. Councils regularly add acid to the water in treatment works to correct pH, as do swimming pool owners. Calcium sulphate or gypsum is used as a soil conditioner, and is often used as a clay breaker, so if you have clay soils, you can add the product of your neutralisation to your garden beds to help break the clay down to garden friendly loam, if you preferred, but it will just form a sludge in the settling ponds without undesirable outcomes.
All this of course presupposes that you idon'thave any nasty chemicals dissolved in your dilute acid like lead or cadmium for example. The presence of those metals changes the argument considerably.
|pgk pgk||16/06/2019 11:55:21|
|1499 forum posts|
Fisrly I have to say that i agree with the unpleasantness of dog waste on streets and parks and the commonsense and health utility of worming pets but I do get on my high-horse when news media and people overblow the human health risks. The actual incidence of visceral larval migrans diagnosed Enland and Wales is very low. While it can afect brains and other organs the only paperwok on-line I could find currently is for the more? common ocular form here
This shows about 12 cases per year out of our 60mill population and indeed mostly in adults. A previous study i found back in the 80's on neurological cases was around 6-7. I did some back-of-fag-packet sums on it back then and if anything the risks of going to the vet to buy the worm tablets from the viewpoint of motor accidents and other hazards is actually higher (yes I realise if folk didn't go buy the tablets then human incidence would be higher )
I had a long discussion with my local health authority and environmental health folk while I was in Practice and the subject of dog faeces was media highlighted... they did claim to carry out regular checks on dog worm burdens in parks and playgrounds and finally reluctantly conceded they had never turned up viable infective material in the soil (which is not the same as saying it's not there).
|Nigel Graham 2||16/06/2019 12:40:02|
|452 forum posts|
I agree entirely wit the nonsense put out by the Press, very few of whose journalists comprehend anything the least bit technical, nor basic statistics.
However I think you may be worrying needlessly about back-flow from homes. Open water-tanks have always had their inlets above water-level and overflow; and though the cold water taps are fed directly from the mains (to be potable), you'd have to do something very strange and deliberate for water to go back through them.
An ordinary house just does not need a non-return valve on its normal plumbing, but does by law on outside taps because there is no control on what might be fed by hose-pipes. I don't know if washing-machines have such valves built-in, as well as the controlled valve, but their inlets are normally through the detergent-drawer, well above the water-level.
Businesses have to comply with tighter laws because they are more likely to install systems that might siphon back into the mains. Even the top-feed into a huge open fresh-water tank I looked after, needed a non-return valve although the outlet from its ordinary ball-valve was several inches above the water-line - and I believe that too came via a roof-tank so the check-valve was there to suit law not reality.
The difficulties you cite with antibiotics etc are those of contaminating the sewers, not the fresh supplies.
|pgk pgk||16/06/2019 14:04:42|
|1499 forum posts|
One of the bigger issues was the washing machine. It's location was such that any attempt to create a big enough air-gap for water supply to it met criticism and condemnation. I ended up with commercial washers that cost more per month to lease than I'd paid outright to own our own domestic ones to get something that complied with cat5 back-flow regs. The silliest of the situations was our dental tub-table where the taps didn't comply, several plumbers failed to source new ones that might and the inspectors insisted that such existed but wouldn't tell us where to get them because that might suggest a lack of impartiality on their part! Nor would they allow me to fit in-line back-flow protectors on the grounds that if they had pre-existed then everything would have been OK but I wasn't allowed to retro-fit.
In the end I got a plumber relative to come down and fit in-line backflow further back in the piping. make it look old and explained to inspectors that i hadn't known it had been there until a lucky discovery......
As to ordinary houses.. people wash babies bums in sinks, their own in baths with rubber push on showers, veggies from the garden etc (and as above with all sorts of substances on-board)...more potential for contamination in many cases than our careful handling of clinical material and clinical waste.
|Robert Atkinson 2||16/06/2019 14:49:19|
461 forum posts
I agree totally. Of the dozen or so cases it's probable that most are from own dogs. We get lots of complaints about dog mess in the village newsletter but few about the bottles, glassses and drink cans (cans get shredded by the councel mowers into razor sharp pieces). I reguarly pick up bottles and cans on the greens and playing fields. Septicemia kills hundreds in the UK every year so a cut while playing is potentially much more dangerous than dog mess. I am biased, I had septicemia from a cut in a park as a child and am a dog owner and ouy dog has had to have vet visits twice due to a cut paw.
|David Cambridge||16/06/2019 16:35:37|
|252 forum posts|
For what it’s worth, back in the 80’s my wife used acid for etching in her jewelry business. A few decades later I was left with something concentrated and nasty. I don’t like chemistry and dangerous chemicals scare me. I used the below people to get rid of it. The best money I every spent.
|duncan webster||16/06/2019 17:18:34|
2289 forum posts
Speaking as a long time dog owner, the reason some people bag up the dog muck and then hang it on trees, fences etc is that they believe in the dog pooh fairy, in other words they are stupid, or think themselves too important to deal with it properly and leave it to someone else. I even pick up other people's on the basis that I might miss some of my own dog's. There is a fortune to be made by someone who invents a strong pooh proof bag which will biodegrade in a few weeks, then we could pick it up and throw it in a patch of nettles where it wouldn't get stood in. It doesn't actually last very long, you just need to ensure that no-one stands in it.
Please login to post a reply.
Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!
You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.
Click THIS LINK for full contact details.
For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.