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SteveL 04-05-2013 01:27 PM

Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
I would like to make a lye bath tank but have a concern about how to dispose of the lye solution. It would be about 6-7 gallon tank. I'm in Florida and would be keeping it outside. If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching I would have to dispose of it quickly as I wouldn't want it tossed around or possibly ending up on my neighbor's or my car. I also live on a lake and our water table is not very deep so environmental concerns are there too. I know it could be neutralized with vinegar but it would take a LOT of it for that much solution from what info I've been able to gather. How do y'all dispose of yours safely? Any ideas with my situation or should I just stick to using oven cleaner/bag method when I need to use? Electrolysis tank takes a lot of the gunk off but not all on the really bad ones.

Thanks in advance,
Steve

Doug D. 04-05-2013 02:35 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Are you on a septic system, or city sewer?

SteveL 04-05-2013 03:11 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Sewer, but no drains near the front of the house.

Doug D. 04-05-2013 03:25 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
I wasn't thinking of a street drain, as sub-surface drainage doesn't necessarily go to the sewer system. Where I live, it goes to outfall canals. I was thinking more like a laundry sink and flushing the solution a gallon at a time with a few minutes of cold running water each time. Should dilute it adequately, and should not hurt plumbing. A couple heaping tablespoons of lye to two cups of water as recommended for drain cleaner use would be far stronger. Of course, this assumes you have no drain clogging issues to start with.

SteveL 04-05-2013 03:39 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Unfortunately I have a small townhouse type place and no laundry sink or basin. Would it be safe to dump if diluted at double the water? Say like using at 1 lb. to 5 gal. then add additional 5 gal. or more before dumping?

Doug D. 04-05-2013 03:59 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
I wonder if anyone reading has experience in inorganic chemistry and could chime in. My calculations of 1 lb. lye crystals (sodium hydroxide) per 5 gallons of water convert to solution of ~ 24 g./l. A little research has come up with a figure of right around 1 kg. of nitric acid to neutralize that. Not sure how cost effective that might be, or if there is an equivalent but cheaper alternative. Maybe some kind of pool chemical acid. I'm sure there's also some safety protocols necessary when combining acid and alkaline solutions.

I have had a situation before where a storm blew the top off my small lye bath bucket and then rain filled and overflowed it. It didn't kill any grass. I suppose if the situation calls for removing a potential imminent threat, 2x-3x dilution and disposing in a spot not accessible to animals or near edible vegetation would be acceptable. And as far as feasible from the lake.

Failing all that, perhaps carefully transfer the solution to 5 gal. gas cans and tie them down to something solid.

SteveL 04-05-2013 04:58 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Thanks Doug. I greatly appreciate your weighing in on this. I have read about neutralizing with Muriatic/ Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) but thinking that would make this not a cost effective method for me. Not really worried about killing grass as sprinkler system failure has taken care of that for me already and I haven't re-sodded yet. No pets in a privacy fenced yard either (except for visiting squirrels).

Maybe if I can find a container that a #10 skillet and Dutch Ovens will fit into with a very tight fitting lid I might be able to transport to hazardous waste disposal site a couple miles away from me in the trunk of my Civic. Barring that, it looks like I may be sticking with bagging them with oven cleaner. At least I can dump the iron enriched electrolysis water without fear. :shock:

Thank you again,
Steve

John C. 04-05-2013 06:44 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Steve,I find a # 8 skillet or dutch oven fits nicely in a 5 gallon bucket with snap on lid.

SteveL 04-05-2013 07:27 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Thanks John. I may just pick up one at either Home Depot or Firehouse Subs (pickle buckets) to do the #8's and below in. Not sure if they have lids for them at either place but doesn't hurt to ask. Pieces that don't fit can get bagged with OC. Just pulled a #6 (1056) Wagner from electro tank and it's beyond help. It was 1 of 7 pieces I got at a yard sale severely rusted. Looks like the rust went deeper than I thought it did. Heavy rust damage/pits inside. Paid only $25 for all 7. May try to do 1 or 2 more after I get caught up on my better finds. Thanks again, John.

Steve

Doug D. 04-05-2013 08:08 PM

Re: Lye Bath Solution Disposal
 
Another thought would be if you have a gravel driveway you're tired of weeds growing in, it might just be the spot to dump.

Re: containers. Sandwich shops get mayo and pickle slices in 5-gallon buckets with tight-fitting lids they may sell cheap or give away. Home Depot sells a 20 gallon Rubbermaid Brute with locking lid for $20, Store SKU #338608. I have two of those.


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