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absolute zero
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[*] posted on 28-3-2012 at 10:25
Chemical disposal


I'm new to this forum and have been reading the older posts. I was shocked to read people talking about their "acid patches" in their yards where they dump chemicals and wash out glassware. Why would anyone do this? The damage to the environment could be very substantial and code enforcement would have a legitamate reason to shut a home lab down. I take all unwanted chemicals to the local landfill where they have a collection area for chemicals and they get incinerated. How do other members of this list dispose of chemicals besides dumping them on the ground?
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 28-3-2012 at 10:34


hopefully not everybody is doing that!

was a thread on the subject started last month , last comment was yesterday

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=18922

try to look up the search icon it helps,

hope you`ll find your answer there!
good luck




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[*] posted on 28-3-2012 at 10:47


Thanks neptunium. I searched in the General Chemistry section and didn't see anything and thought I was posting there, but somehow posted in this catagory.
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[*] posted on 28-3-2012 at 14:32


Quote: Originally posted by absolute zero  
The damage to the environment could be very substantial


You're exaggerating way to much.


Quote:

and code enforcement would have a legitamate reason to shut a home lab down


AFAIK, in some places, a "home lab" is prohibited just as french kissing in public is in other places.
Spilling acid in backyard, as long as it isn't measured in barrels, is something nobody should care about. Sulphuric and phosphoric acid will create insoluble deposits on contact with the dirt, and hydrochloric acid will create earth alkali chlorides which acidity is lowered by the rain. If you occasionaly pour few beakers of the stuff in the same spot, roughly two cubic meters of dirt will be mildly affected in long terms.

Quote:

I take all unwanted chemicals to the local landfill where they have a collection area for chemicals and they get incinerated.


You incinerate your chemicals at a landfill? LOL, talking about double standards.
And how does one exactly incinerate an acid? Please don't say "with fire".


Quote:
How do other members of this list dispose of chemicals besides dumping them on the ground?


We pour them in the sink and dillute them with copious amounts of water like any normal person. If the amount of cheap heavy metals is too large and therefore dangerous, precipitation and dumping in the trash. If it's valuable, recycling. If it's flammable and volatile, backyard evaporation.

I honestly have no idea why would a home chemist doing experiments that produce a fragment of waste produced at any typical faculty chemistry laboratory want to follow guidelines made for chemical plants.
Not only is it expensive (and probably environmentally unfriendly because of the poor cost-benefit ratio), but it's stupid.

Just dump it in the sink and leave the tedious nitpicking for plants that produce loads of basic chemical products...




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absolute zero
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 04:11


Endimion17, Dumping small amounts of chemicals on the ground may not be a global problem, but it CAN cause local issues (well contamination, wildlife etc). These could be VERY substantial to the people involved. Everything goes to the dump--where it’s incinerated in an incinerator DESIGNED to handle hazardous materials (unlike your drain pipes).But then, I’m not just a “normal person”-- I was trained in a faculty laboratory in a major research university and I try to uphold those standards WHEREVER I’m working. Sounds like you're just a pseudo-scientist who doesn't want to follow BASIC laboratory procedures.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 05:31


Quote: Originally posted by absolute zero  
Endimion17, Dumping small amounts of chemicals on the ground may not be a global problem, but it CAN cause local issues (well contamination, wildlife etc).


Erm, no, it can't, unless you're running a laboratory that synthesizes considerable amounts of various products which you're selling without reporting it to the ministry of taxes. ;)
Either that, or you work with forbidden, persistent organic pollutants. In either case, you're breaking the law.

Or you perhaps aren't familiar with the destiny of usual waste that gets spilled. Ever heard of sequences and series (math)? They're used in environmental protection. The local environment can handle certain amounts of constant waste input without the possibility of getting damaged. For example, certain amount of oil can be spilled into the sea every day because the bacteria will mineralize it.
Home chemistry doesn't produce copious amounts of toxic gunk that could endanger anything except the rose bush few meters away, but there isn't any danger for the surrounding area.


Quote:

These could be VERY substantial to the people involved. Everything goes to the dump--where it’s incinerated in an incinerator DESIGNED to handle hazardous materials (unlike your drain pipes).


I'll ask you again. How exactly do you incinerate sulphuric acid?
(it's a trick question - it's not being incinerated, but neutralized with lime, and resulting gypsum is dumped or used for something else)
You think everything can be solved by simply chucking it into the old furnace. :D


Quote:

But then, I’m not just a “normal person”-- I was trained in a faculty laboratory in a major research university and I try to uphold those standards WHEREVER I’m working.


It's nice you were trained in a faculty laboratory (me too!), but it's sad to see that you're unable to judge the dangers involved.
If you were trained in a laboratory handling actinide solutions or organometallic reagents, would you handle the usual home laboratory chemicals the same way? I guess you would, and that shows that you weren't trained well enough because you don't understand this.
You sound like those university personell that freaks out if someone tries to pour water in hydrochloric acid, and not the opposite, even if the acid is 10% concentrated, "because you ALWAYS pour acid into water". They remember it by heart, never ever actually thinking about it. That kind of people never manages laboratory fires, for example, "because you're supposed to follow the escape route and wait for the firemen", so the entire lab burns down because of an oil bath on fire that could be smothered with a damp cloth.

Quote:

Sounds like you're just a pseudo-scientist who doesn't want to follow BASIC laboratory procedures.


Excuse me, but you obviously don't have a clue what a pseudoscientist is, so spare me of your labeling.
Regarding the basic laboratory procedures, I believe I'm one of the few people at SM that follows them. Sad, but true - most people here are educated by YouTube and have never read a lab manual or university textbook.




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absolute zero
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 06:33


Tell that to my neighbor who can't drink the water from their well because in the past an adjacent farm sprayed cyanide on their cattle to kill ticks and it leached into their well! Or the neighbors of a local junkyard who can't drink their water because fliuds dripping from the cars polluted their wells. There are over twenty thousand members on this list any probably way more home chemists out there and if that many people are doing stupid stuff like dumping hazardous chemicals on the ground there's bound to be trouble down the line. If you've deluded yourself into thinking dumping hazardous chemicals down a sink drain is "normal" and a basic laboratory procedure I recommend revisiting your gen chem textbook!
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 07:34


Quote: Originally posted by absolute zero  
Tell that to my neighbor who can't drink the water from their well because in the past an adjacent farm sprayed cyanide on their cattle to kill ticks and it leached into their well! Or the neighbors of a local junkyard who can't drink their water because fliuds dripping from the cars polluted their wells. There are over twenty thousand members on this list any probably way more home chemists out there and if that many people are doing stupid stuff like dumping hazardous chemicals on the ground there's bound to be trouble down the line. If you've deluded yourself into thinking dumping hazardous chemicals down a sink drain is "normal" and a basic laboratory procedure I recommend revisiting your gen chem textbook!


So I was right. You're producing large amount of something for sale, and that makes a lot of waste. Therefore, you're not doing "home chemistry".

I still don't understand how sulphuric acid is incinerated, but that's ok, clearly you don't know it either.




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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 07:48


Apparently you didn't bother to even read my post as I am not involved in farming or the salvage business. But, now that I know you're from Croatia I totally understand your total disregard for the environment. I live in Florida, surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty where one can drink from the streams they're so clean. And we intend to keep it that way! Unlike your country, where the rivers are so polluted the water has to be treated first in order to be used for INDUSTRIAL use!
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 07:52


Quote: Originally posted by absolute zero  
Apparently you didn't bother to even read my post as I am not involved in farming or the salvage business. But, now that I know you're from Croatia I totally understand your total disregard for the environment. I live in Florida, surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty where one can drink from the streams they're so clean. And we intend to keep it that way! Unlike your country, where the rivers are so polluted the water has to be treated first in order to be used for INDUSTRIAL use!


Hahahha, I'm gonna wet myself laughing! :D
We've got some of Europe's cleanest water sources because our industry went to hell long time ago. We're even exporting bottled water!

Oh my, look, I'm urinating. Hee hee hee! :D

Ah, talking about prejudices. ^^




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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 08:18


sorry guys but that last one was very funny :D!!

perhaps this back and forth has gone on long enough?




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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 08:23


Apparently, he doesn't know how to properly dispose of human waste either!!!!:D
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 08:26


Quote:
Everything goes to the dump--where it’s incinerated in an incinerator DESIGNED to handle hazardous materials (unlike your drain pipes)


There is no incinerator designed to handle all types of chemical waste. Endimion was right to ask how you burn sulphuric acid, which you didn't ever respond to. Municipal waste sites are not equipped to dispose of genuine chemical waste, they dispose of everyday domestic products; batteries, paint thinner, oil. You can not simply burn everything. When this first started being done with plastics, the result was a large amount of dioxin spewing out the chimneys of the incinerators. This is why hazardous waste disposal companies exist, and they need to look at each job as it's own problem. Batteries are not simply incinerated, for example.

You do realise that for a lot of people the drain pipes do not go back into the drinking water supply? And that sulphuric acid is used domestically and commercially as drain cleaner? The guideline is to pour about half a bottle (a few hundred mls) of concentrated acid directly into the drain.

Quote:
doesn't want to follow BASIC laboratory procedures.


If you know so much about it you should have been able to easily answer Endimion's question about the acid, which he ended up answering himself. And if you follow it all the time, why are you 'incinerating' your sulphuric rather than neutralising it?

Do you think it's more appropriate to hand over sulphuric waste or sulphate?

On that note, do you know that soil is supposed to be acidic, that sulphates are a normal component of soil and how much sulphuric is required to change the pH of just one garden? I can assure you, it's a lot!

Quote:
Tell that to my neighbor who can't drink the water from their well because in the past an adjacent farm sprayed cyanide on their cattle to kill ticks and it leached into their well!


Farms are notorious for handling large quantities of either dangerous (liquid ammonia) or toxic chemicals (pesticides). VX nerve agent was originally a spin off from a pesticide and a number of the pesticides themselves have caused global complaints about safety; see, overspray / leaching / run off / DDT / etc. The people handling the raw chemicals and spraying them will have to wear respirators, gloves and possibly even some form of suit. That is not comparable to amateur science, when they're dealing with drums of concentrated, toxic pesticide.

Quote:
There are over twenty thousand members on this list any probably way more home chemists out there


The number of people who actually do practical home chemistry on a regular basis makes up a very small percentage of the forum.

Quote:
But, now that I know you're from Croatia I totally understand your total disregard for the environment.


Fluorosilicic Acid Spill on Florida Highway. The acid closed the road into the night, forced 2,300 from homes and sent 50 to hospitals.

[Edited on 29-3-2012 by peach]
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 08:30


When did I say I was incinerating sulfuric acid??? I never mentioned sulfuric acid.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 08:50


Well, what 'hazardous waste' are you talking about, and what are the quantities?



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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 09:07


Quote:
hen did I say I was incinerating sulfuric acid??? I never mentioned sulfuric acid.


You started the thread complaining about acids and drains. Drain acid is sulphuric.

Maybe it'd be easier to know what you're talking about if you actually specified what you're talking about, rather than making nebulous statements about hazardous waste and simply incinerating it all, not answering the perfectly valid question about how acid is usually disposed of in a 'university faculty' (by neutralisation rather than incineration) and then insulting people based on their geographical location.

Why are you asking the question in the first place if you know how it's usually done? Only to then insult endimion when he gives you the answer that applies from a home to a plant scale.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 09:33


No Peach, it was about posts I'd here read about people having "acid patches" in their yards from dumping "chemicals". I thought this was not a good procedure and asked how people are disposing their chemicals--I've always taken then to the hazardous collecytion area at our landfill. I've never taken sulfuric acid there, but I have taken hydrochloric acid there. They do accept batteries, which contain sulfuric acid, and they dispose of them, so I'm sure if they recieved sulfuric acid (in a clearly marked container) it would be disposed of properly. Edimion insists that its OK to dump on the ground. I don't believe that is so. As I stated in my post, I am new to this forum and home chemistry. I thought this would be a good place to gather information, but apparently its more about arguing one's position.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 09:58


I was unaware that I insulted Edimion, I merely stated a fact about the enviromental status of his country. This is a science forum after all--is it an insult to state unpleasant facts???
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 10:01


Quote:
arguing one's position


Science is about arguing one's position yes. You prompted the heated replies by implying that any form of disposal at home was about to destroy the Earth and that amateurs played a significant role in this. A lot of what people do at home isn't all that toxic to begin with, and the quantities being used won't even register as 1% by comparison with industry and regular improper disposal of waste (e.g. batteries in the none recycling bags).

The people here who routinely engage in chemistry at home tend to recover things (e.g. solvents) because they're difficult to get in the first place or useful for something else. For example, not a lot of them would dump a bottle of hydrochloric when they could leave it on the shelf, sell it or give it away to another member.

If it's mundane, they might recover that or just bin it. If it's more expensive / toxic, they'll probably keep it, sell it or give it away.

Quote:
They do accept batteries, which contain sulfuric acid, and they dispose of them, so I'm sure if they recieved sulfuric acid (in a clearly marked container) it would be disposed of properly


That is not necessarily true. A car battery contains 30 to 40% sulphuric, not a whole lot of it and it's built to take serious abuse. A random 2.5l bottle of concentrated sulphuric, with who knows what dissolved in it, is not a car battery. The people who dispose of car batteries expect to pick up car batteries, not laboratory waste.

The municipal waste sites can't be used as a be all end all solution to chemical waste, which is what you're suggesting when you say you just leave it and it gets incinerated. It is actually yourself who is suggesting the indiscriminate disposal idea.

Quote:
I merely stated a fact about the enviromental status of his country. This is a science forum after all--is it an insult to state unpleasant facts???


Dumping chemical weapons off the coast of Florida.

Disposal of sodium in a US lake.



[Edited on 29-3-2012 by peach]
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[*] posted on 29-3-2012 at 12:16


Pouring any waste on the ground just seems wrong. I have heard too many stories of contaminated groundwater. There are many superfund sites caused by the disposal of gasoline, degreasers, chlorinated solvents, etc on the ground by fueling stations and machine repair shops. Also, I like to know that children and pets cannot get poisoned on my property from such practice.

Water soluble non-toxics should be diluted then sent down the drain to the municipal waste treatment plant. Acids/bases can first be neutralized, although strong bases and acids are sold specifically for unclogging household drains.




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[*] posted on 30-3-2012 at 15:19


I think the point is micro-organisms can handle the volume of toxins a typical home lab makes as long as we are not talking those agriculture pesticides that are extremely toxic and long lasting. What home lab is synthesizing DDT or DDT like compounds? Hopefully none.

Also normal drain disposal is recommended where waste water won't re-enter drinking water supplies. As long as we are not talking heavy metals like mercury and lead.

Superfund sites had super large amounts of chemicals, there is no Superfund site dealing with a half kilo of contaminate unless there is a radioactive Superfund I'm unaware of.


[Edited on 30-3-2012 by pip]
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[*] posted on 30-3-2012 at 23:36


Awesome :)
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[*] posted on 11-4-2012 at 19:18


You'll have to excuse some of us Americans, some of us definitely suffer from inserting foot in mouth at times. As far as dumping acids on the ground, you should see my blueberries where I "dumped" a litter of phosphoric acid and a couple pounds of KNO3. They seemed to love the "toxic" dump.
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