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Basic
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Posted: 4/30/2012 3:47:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/30/2012 3:48:50 AM EST by pickupdan]
I have three 330 gallon totes that had Sodium Hydroxide in them. Does anyone have any experience in cleaning out a tote to allow water storage?

Thanks
Dan
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Posted: 4/30/2012 4:50:49 AM EST
Vinegar?

Dilute HCl?

Anything acidic. Doesn't Home Depot et al sell "Muriatic Acid (HCL)?
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Posted: 4/30/2012 6:00:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/30/2012 6:08:34 AM EST by Reorx]
NaOH + HCl → NaCl (salt) + H20 (water)

Pool acid (Muriatic acid (HCl)) should do the trick. All you have to do is get the proportions right. I would get a pool test kit and titrate the acid to give you a neutral pH (~7.0). You will need to fill the tote to the very top (with water) to get the top wall (roof?) of the container "clean" as well. You will also need a way to stir the tote when it is full. Complete mixing is essential to correct titration... (if you think there is a lot of leftover NaOH in your empty containers, rinse them out first) Good luck!

Once you think the job is done well enough, empty and rinse the tote and then fill it with water - let it sit (covered) for a few days... then check the pH... if the pH is close to 7, you should be GTG...

As an FYI, if you plan to use liquid pool chlorine or Clorox, there is NaOH in both products to stabilize the Cl... you should consider adding a small amount Muriatic acid to bring the pH back to neutral... The approximate equivalence with pool chemicals is that you need about 1 cup (8 ounces) of Muriatic acid to neutralize a gallon of pool chlorine. and OBTW - NEVER mix Muriatic acid with a chlorine source (directly) - the reactions can be violent and you will get chlorine gas which is at the very least unpleasant and at worst deadly...

Regards...

- R -
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Posted: 4/30/2012 6:03:34 AM EST
Depending on the concentration of the reminant, I would be VERY careful adding any acid to that.
The ensuing reaction could REALLY get your attention, and not in a good way.

I would suggest lots of rinsing with water first.

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Posted: 4/30/2012 6:53:17 AM EST

First off, fill them up with water, allow to sit for a couple of days, and then check the pH with a strip of litmus paper or an aquarium pH test kit (use a fresh kit!)

If the measured pH is more or less neutral, you're good to go. If it is basic, you need to clean it out more. Use regular tap water that hasn't been in the tote as a pH reference. (E.g., test the pH water that has been allowed to sit in the tote and test the pH of regular tap water. The two measurements should agree if all of the hydroxide has been washed out.)

I still wouldn't use a tote used for chemical storage for storing potable water.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 7:23:37 AM EST
Sodium hydroxide is a food ingredient, so a IBC that was full of it, once clean, is really no worse than one that held non potable water. In either case, you don't now what contaminants, if any, were present. However, given the use of normal industrial grade NaOH for food use (not that it's legal), there doesn't seem to be any likelyhood that it would have had any harmful contaminants.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 8:01:40 AM EST
Sodium Hydroxide is also used for lots of industrial purposes and will burn the hell out of you if it is concentrated. I know this from first hand experience when I was doing HAZMAT cleanup for a living. I got a piece smaller than a BB on my arm and I still have a nice little scar from it 15 years later. The Mexican drug cartels and some funeral homes are using a strong solution of this stuff to dispose of bodies. It dissolves the flesh pretty quickly leaving only the bones.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 1:04:41 PM EST
Rinse it out with detergent and water, and then vinegar. then use the litmus paper as someone else suggested.

using something like HCl for this is just asking for trouble and there is no real reason to do so.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 7:07:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By pickupdan:
I have three 330 gallon totes that had Sodium Hydroxide in them. Does anyone have any experience in cleaning out a tote to allow water storage?

Thanks
Dan


If the NaOH is gone then you just have to rinse out the totes a couple times. If they're full of pellets then you're dealing with hazardous waste.

You'd need 40 grams of NaOH pellet residue present in ~1 liter of water to make a 1 molar solution. A 1 molar NaOH solution has a pH of 14 which is strongly basic. A full 330 gallon tote holds ~1250 liters of water. Just adding the water will drop the pH a couple units because the diluent is 1,000 times, or 3 logarithms, in excess.

If you want to use less water then you can neutralize the NaOH solution with a weak acid like acetic acid (vinegar) added to the water. 1 gallon of store concentration acetic acid per tote will be sufficient, then you can then use less water to rinse the vinegar out of the totes.

It's not a big deal. Just vacuum out as much dust as possible and don't breathe the dust or get it on you. Once you've done that and the tote is filled with water I guarantee the pH won't be greater than that of a mildly basic solution. The jug of vinegar that people don't worry about has an equivalent position on the pH scale pertaining to a mild acid solution, ~2.4.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 7:41:34 PM EST
I own a soap company and we buy sodium hydroxide by the ton. It is also known as "lye", or depending on the industry, "caustic soda".
Trust me, you do NOT want a chemical burn from this stuff. It will absolutely FUBAR skin. That being said, every person who has said "use vinegar" wins. Just be careful...the solution is incredibly exothermic. Even mixed with water, lye will heat up to over 200 degrees in a matter of seconds. Neutralize with vinegar, and rinse with water. Repeat. You'll be fine.
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Posted: 4/30/2012 8:26:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Rinse it out with detergent and water, and then vinegar. then use the litmus paper as someone else suggested.

using something like HCl for this is just asking for trouble and there is no real reason to do so.



How much HCl is in your tummy???

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Posted: 5/1/2012 2:46:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Rinse it out with detergent and water, and then vinegar. then use the litmus paper as someone else suggested.

using something like HCl for this is just asking for trouble and there is no real reason to do so.



How much HCl is in your tummy???



A few drops. HCl is not as nasty as NaOH but there is no reason to screw around with something like HCL when you don't have to, and there is no good reason to do so.

Suggesting to some random person on the Internet that they should mess around with a dangerous chemcial when there is a perfectly safe way to accomplish the same task is not giving good advice.
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Posted: 5/1/2012 3:13:52 AM EST
thanks for the input... Dan out
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Posted: 5/1/2012 8:56:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Rinse it out with detergent and water, and then vinegar. then use the litmus paper as someone else suggested.

using something like HCl for this is just asking for trouble and there is no real reason to do so.



How much HCl is in your tummy???



A few drops. HCl is not as nasty as NaOH but there is no reason to screw around with something like HCL when you don't have to, and there is no good reason to do so.

Suggesting to some random person on the Internet that they should mess around with a dangerous chemcial when there is a perfectly safe way to accomplish the same task is not giving good advice.


It sounds like you would have freaked out when we etched about 20000 sq ft of concrete floor with HCl [muratic acid].

Gallon upon gallons of it, from the paint store.



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Posted: 5/1/2012 12:55:11 PM EST
If you have visable NAOH still in the IBC (I've never heard of an IBC used for powered or peletized product, thats what supersacks are for), find some body with a garden. Lye (not applied directly to crops) is great for raising soil pH, which 99% of the time is to low for the crop being grown.

You can call it a hazardous material, and it is. It's also available at the local hardware store, and used for makeing homemade soap, and various corn products (through I think Lime is more common.)
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Posted: 5/1/2012 1:05:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By ilbob:
Rinse it out with detergent and water, and then vinegar. then use the litmus paper as someone else suggested.

using something like HCl for this is just asking for trouble and there is no real reason to do so.



How much HCl is in your tummy???



A few drops. HCl is not as nasty as NaOH but there is no reason to screw around with something like HCL when you don't have to, and there is no good reason to do so.

Suggesting to some random person on the Internet that they should mess around with a dangerous chemcial when there is a perfectly safe way to accomplish the same task is not giving good advice.


It sounds like you would have freaked out when we etched about 20000 sq ft of concrete floor with HCl [muratic acid].

Gallon upon gallons of it, from the paint store.





as long as you know what you are doing and are careful with it, it is not so bad. but advising a random person on the Internet to use it when there is a much safer solution readily available does not seem like good advice.

I occasionally work on live electrical circuits. I don't recommend it to the average person.
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Posted: 5/1/2012 4:00:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/1/2012 4:03:12 PM EST by Thug_Hunter12]
I have neutralized a bunch of one-pot meth labs which contain it. Among other methods, we sometimes use vinegar. Most of the other methods are very expensive and designed for haz-mat teams, such as Ampho-Mag or Spill-X.
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Posted: 5/1/2012 4:13:41 PM EST
Unless you have access to lots of acid, whether it be acetic or hydrochloric, just rinse the hell out of it. You didn't mention the concentration of the NaOH solution, and that is a big factor, but either way, you're going to be spending a lot of time rinsing out, so skip the drama and just rinse. Once the rinse hits neutral, your good to go.
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Posted: 5/1/2012 4:28:26 PM EST
Here's a thought:

Go grab a cup of mild acid out of the kitchen... some of us refer to it as vinegar, others call it acetic acid... and dump in it one of the containers.

Observe the reaction and report back.

at worst you are going to get a "hydrogen peroxide on a scab" type of reaction.


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Posted: 5/1/2012 5:06:22 PM EST
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Posted: 5/1/2012 5:13:40 PM EST

Guys,
Couple of quick points.

1. If there's only a little residual base left, it would not take much acid to neutralize. You can calculate the amount needed based on the pH of the solution.

2. I wouldn't use acetic or citric acid. Both neutralize to organic salts (acetate and citrate) that things like bacteria like to eat. If you go this route, at least was and rinse well afterwards.

I'm still on the side of not neutralizing. Measure first. If it needs neutralizing, use a measured and rationally determined amount of agent to neutralize. Don't just go throw acid in it and consider it good. You'll just be replacing basic water with acidic water.

If you want help doing the calculations shoot me an IM or ask here.

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Posted: 5/1/2012 5:46:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
If it was me, I'd use Citric acid. After cleaning real well through multiple rinses, I'd add a juice like lemon. You want the acid to over power what residue of the sodium hydroxide is left embedded in the plastic. A little lemon would leave a nice taste, compared to other household acids.

How much would depend on how well you rinse out the tanks. Rinsing method would be usual rinse and swish, but I'd also fill and then let sit, preferrably in the hot sun, for a few days, then repeat the whole process until there's either no basic pH, smell, or taste. Then I'd add the lemon juice with my water.

Keep in mind, unless the plastic is lexan, that NaOH will be in that plastic. Even if you rinse and neutralize if you store water in there, over time, it will leech back out of the plastic and increase the concentration of NaOH. Concentrated, that stuff is as bad as a strong acid and is very caustic. Not as bad as a petroleum product for safety but it would be high on my overkill list of things to be prepared for the worst. Thus the lemon juice.

Tj
You are dead wrong.

Sodium Hydroxide will not "embed" itself in the plastic to "leach out later".

It is either neutralized, or it is not.

Regardless, the neutralized product of NaOh will be salt and water and some gas, no matter what acid chosen. None are cause for alarm, nor reason to use one acid above another for reasons other than cost.

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Posted: 5/2/2012 4:46:58 AM EST
I'm quite surprised by the number of people on here that have experience in dealing with this product.

Anyway, I deal with Sodium and Potassium hydroxide regularly, almost daily. Some people freak out, but if the stuff is handled with reasonable care I would have few worries.

I will say that a couple of years ago I got careless and got a tiny drop in the corner of one eye. Let's just say that you don't want that to happen.
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Posted: 5/2/2012 6:40:19 AM EST
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Posted: 5/3/2012 3:26:16 PM EST
Hydrogen peroxide, though you need something stronger than readily available 3%. I used 30% when nuetralizing sodium hydroxide.
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Posted: 5/3/2012 3:54:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By PaulJM1699:
Hydrogen peroxide, though you need something stronger than readily available 3%. I used 30% when nuetralizing sodium hydroxide.



You've got to be kidding. 30% H2O2 is difficult to get a hold of and would be an extremely dangerous chemical to recommend for such a mundane purpose. It's a weak acid and strong oxidizer. There is zero reason to do this.

30% H2O2 will cause a very energetic spontaneous explosion of many fuels simply by coming in contact with them–– no spark, heat, or other chemicals necessary. It's not something that should be kept or used in any appreciable volume in the garage or home.

Here's an MSDS for it. Scroll down to 'Special Remarks on Explosion Hazards'.
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Posted: 5/3/2012 5:01:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By red_on_black:

First off, fill them up with water, allow to sit for a couple of days, and then check the pH with a strip of litmus paper or an aquarium pH test kit (use a fresh kit!)

If the measured pH is more or less neutral, you're good to go. If it is basic, you need to clean it out more. Use regular tap water that hasn't been in the tote as a pH reference. (E.g., test the pH water that has been allowed to sit in the tote and test the pH of regular tap water. The two measurements should agree if all of the hydroxide has been washed out.)

I still wouldn't use a tote used for chemical storage for storing potable water.


Correct answer.
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Posted: 5/3/2012 5:03:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By PaulJM1699:
Hydrogen peroxide, though you need something stronger than readily available 3%. I used 30% when nuetralizing sodium hydroxide.


This is extremely dangerous. If this peroxide comes into contact with solvents you will have a bad day.
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Posted: 5/4/2012 4:38:30 AM EST
I like the lemon juice add... Thanks
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