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Neutralizing pickle

This is a good way to kill grass. Copper is toxic to most plants.

I have noticed that when i put my steel mesh into the pickle to
clean off the flux it becomes covered with what looks like copper
which washes off with water. Does anyone know exactly what that is?
Vince LaRochelle

Is it wise to put the plastic bag with the pickle into the land
fill site, where it might leak out and contaminate the soil? I take
mine to the recycling site which specializes with toxic materials
and let them dispose of it. 

That is certainly ideal for those who live in an area with such
services. For others, it is better to dispose of it as solid waste
than to put it into the waste stream. A friend who is very informed
about such things tells me that the pickle and copper is not good
for the health of the bacteria at the waste treatment plant.

It is unlikely leak out and contaminate the soil, landfills have
these layers and layers between them and the soil. And then there’s
more on top, that’s why nothing decomposes.

Elaine

Hello James,

I am in awe of your metal knowledge and am hoping you know the
chemical formulae describing the soluble copper and silver compounds
common in spent pickle. Since this topic of proper disposal re:
pickle and septic systems has arisen, it seems useful to know what
the compounds are.

While I do not advocate deliberate degradation of the environment,
some copper and silver compounds are not harmful, but beneficial. For
example, ponds are dosed with blue stone, ie. copper sulfate, to
control algae.

Likewise a silver-based disinfectant has been determined to reduce
bacterial populations that contact treated surfaces within minutes,
highlight the potential to interrupt cross-contamination from
environmental surfaces, and reduce the risk of infection within the
home and health care settings.

Ergo, knowing which metal compounds are found in spent pickle would
be helpful. If my previous posting re: putting small amounts of spent
pickle in the liquid waste stream is inaccurate, I really want to
know.

Thanks for your wisdom and for sharing your knowledge, Judy in
Kansas, who is tardy in cleaning up the garden. In the worst case,
plant debris left in place will compost. it just ain’t pretty!

I generally pour my spent pickle on to weeds in my driveway - the
weeds hate it, and die…

Janet

It’s copper! A bit of iron n the steel mesh gives up a few electrons
to the surrounding copper ions, which become metallic copper, while
the iron goes into solution. The copper plating is so thin that just
washes off. (A deliberate plating rig plates a much thicker layer of
copper, which is more durable.)

Dick D.

I get the idea that most of you produce gallons a week of pickle, I
replace my pickle maybe once a month, if not once in the 3 months.
(If it becomes weak I just put some extra ph minus in) I use ph minus
the same stuff as I use for the swimming pool, the small pickle
hotspot has a capacity of maybe a bit more than half a litre for
bigger items I use one with maybe 3 litre but I hardly use the big
one as most itemsare small, rings and bracelets mainly.

I poor it down in the sink with the water tap running, the swimming
pool water I use often to give the plants water in the garden,
including the ph minus, I had a bumper harvest this year of mangoes
and oranges, my cats drink from the swimming pool and are still full
with mischief, kids swim I swim sometimes and we still look healthy
(except my slight overweight and back problems, but I am sure that
has nothing to do with ph minus)

So all in all if you just have a bench and not a Henry Ford factory
to produce jewelry what is the issue?

Are we not overdoing this whole pickle story?

Peter
Spain

The amount of an element or product is poissonous more then the the
product itself.

The same is true for copper. People still cook their marmelade in
copper cooking pans to produce excellent marmelade.

Beer is still brewed in copper beer boilers.

If copper is so poissonous then why is it allowed to have copper
drainpipes and roofs on houses? Howmany gemstones are based on copper
like malachite, azurite etc ? Natural product contain copper like
tomatoes, oisters, shrimps, choclate, meat and many more.

Howmany copper coins that whe know of are running through our
fingers? People work on a daily base with copper and produce jewelry
out of it.

We keep them everywhere even on the street where whe don’t bother to
pick them up in order to prevent pollution.

A human body needs copper (about 5mg a day). A pregnant mother needs
more copper, brestfeeding mothers even more.

Coppersulfate is used in food for cow’s and pig’s as a supplement.

Every single lifeform on earth needs copper!

The majority of this comes from a water treatment
company in the Netherlands (lenntech water treatment solution) Go
ahead and visit it if you like.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81nn

This is not my green light to say “no worry’s and dump it, no
problem at all” but keep it in perspective.

If you want to eliminate your pickle problem (copper problem) then
you can evaporate the water. No need to neutralize it if you take it
to the right place.

A way to do this is to leave your pickle heater on overnight and
collect the dry mass after evaporating the water…

Another way is to electroplate the copper out of your pickle if you
like to. This way you’ll find out howmuch (!?) copper you’re dealing
with.

Now please don’t attack me for all this because it might
run against your opinion and if you do please consider all the
cigarette butts you dispose when you clean your car, house or just
after smoking.

One butt will contaminate the soil of 1 square meter for about 25
years and it contains copper aswell amongst many other heavy
products.

Yeah sure, one butt what the heck! Now multiply that number
400,000,000,000 only for the US and that’s the number you get only
for cigartette butt’s! Talking about worldscale contamination with
copper and we still keep on doing it every single day… and many
cigarettes a day.

Completely out of topic but something to think about when you talk
about your pickle problem.

No, I’m not a scientist if one like to bomb me with intrigate
formulas.

All the best to everybody.

While I do not advocate deliberate degradation of the environment,
some copper and silver compounds are not harmful, but beneficial.
For example, ponds are dosed with blue stone, ie. copper sulfate,
to control algae. 

To me that pretty much defines something as toxic, if it is used as a
poison. Copper sulfate will also kill the fish if there is enough of
it in the water. Copper sulfate is what you get if you use sulfuric
acid or one of its salts like sodium bisulfate as a pickle. Citric
acid will form copper citrate which is not quite as dangerous but is
still considered a toxic substance in regards to water pollution.
While biocides can be useful they are useful precisely because they
kill things. When used in a controlled manner they may be beneficial
but just dumped into the environment they will indiscriminately kill.
Copper compounds are fairly toxic in large enough doses. Silver is
not really going to be present as a soluble compound in typical
pickle. You would need a nitric acid pickle or a salt of nitric acid
to dissolve the silver.

James Binnion

Hello,

Seems to me that pouring spent pickle onto the ground, driveways,
plants, etc., allows it to seep into the groundwater and aquifers.
Since my well water comes from those aquifers, and maybe some of you
depend on water from wells like mine, this practice would be an
exercise in slow suicide at the worst, and at the least will defeat
the purpose of having lovely, clean water to drink, cook and bathe
in for you and others who also may be using water derived from the
same aquifer.

The need to dispose of spent pickle should, for most of us, not be
frequent and, therefore, not a major concern. Pickle will last a
long time and does not need to be disposed of until it is saturated
with copper salts (deep blue), right? I like the idea of allowing
the water to evaporate and then taking the residue to municipal
toxic waste disposal events.

Linda Kaye-Moses

A huge amount of money and effort goes into keeping waste sites
running properly. Joe and Jane Citizen can help by not introducing
something that will cause it to not work properly. We should take
this waste disposal veryseriously and do it with the least possible
consequences to the environment and or the waste systems provided for
the public. Living in a rural areaand having people visit as tourists
leaves me quite often amazed that somehave become used to believing
in the magic of flushing down whatever we want and not worry about
the consequences. I can only assume that acid will eventually ruin a
metal septic tank and also ruin the bacteria function of a septic
tank. Thanks everybody about talking about this issue.

The salt in your pickle is acting as a conductor with the copper.
Essentially you have a plating bath. If you are going to do this,
separate your picklefrom the main bath so you don’t contaminate your
other metals.

Karen Christians
Karenchristians.com

I have noticed that when i put my steel mesh into the pickle to
clean off the flux it becomes covered with what looks like copper
which washes off with water. Does anyone know exactly what that
is? 

It’s copper.

Iron is more reactive than copper, so when you put iron into pickle
the acid reacts with it and the copper ions are displaced from
solution, plating any metal that happens to be in the liquid.

Some stainless steels are safe in pickle as the chromium protects
the iron from reaction. But as a general rule, keep any iron or iron
alloy out of the pickle.

Elliot Nesterman

Is it wise to put the plastic bag with the pickle into the land
fill site, where it might leak out and contaminate the soil? 

If anything it might temporarily make some soil have a lower
(acidic) pH, but it won’t hurt anything (unless you’re trying to grow
pink hydrangea’s).

Paf Dvorak

The copper and/or silver can damage the bacteria that digests the
poop and toilet paper, even if it doesn't damage the concrete. 

I seriously doubt that.

I mean, how much bleach and other germ-killing chemicals go down the
average household drain without destroying the bacteria?

Paf Dvorak

Hello Linda,

Seems to me that pouring spent pickle onto the ground, driveways,
plants, etc., allows it to seep into the groundwater and aquifers. 

Since my well water comes from those aquifers, and maybe some of you
depend on water from wells like mine, this practice would be an
exercise in slow suicide at the worst, and at the least will defeat
the purpose of having lovely, clean water to drink, cook and bathe in
for you and others who also may be using water derived from the same
aquifer."

When copper ends up in soil it strongly attaches to organic matter
and minerals. As a result it does not travel very far after release
and it hardly ever enters groundwater. In surface water copper can
travel great distances, either suspended on sludge particles or as
free ions.

All credits go to lenntech company.

I’m not affiliated in anyway with this company!

I believe that they know much more about this matter then I do and
others aswell.

We are talking about copper ions and not in numbers of gramms.

Keep it realistic. Slow suicite is not realistic or you have to
drink it and even then.

BTW, clean lovely water can kill you too if you drink tomuch of it.

By all means, I do believe in a green environment and try my best to
keep it as green as possible.

Best wishes

Thank You James. I appreciate your providing the copper compounds to
be found in spent pickle. The is helpful.

Judy in Kansas, where it seems that winter arrived within the space
of a few hours… 78F to 35F!

Since I dispose of my pickle two or three times a year, and in
quantities not exceeding about a pint or two, pouring the stuff to
kill a few weeds at the level of about a tablespoon per widely
spaced weed on my driveway I really don’t think is going to pollute
the aquifers. I live in a very rural area and we have our own water
well - I’m sure as heck not going to want to pollute my (or anyone
else’s) aquifers! Now fracking for oil and gas extraction and huge
applications of pesticide/herbicide will do that for sure, but not
my 2 pints in scattered tablespoonfuls.

Janet

This is slightly off topic. But I rarely use pickle anymore. I used
to pickle nearly everything I soldered. Then I remodeled my shop and
was closer to the sonic. Without thinking about it I started just
hanging soldered pieces in the hot sonic and stopped using the
pickle. It dried up and was never refilled.

Now I keep a lidded jar containing Sparex and water by the sonic and
on the occasion I need to pickle something I just put it in the jar
in the basket in the sonic to heat it up and give it a little shake.
Does the trick. I might replace the pickle in that jar once a year
at most.

Mark

Has anyone thought of where copper and silver come from originally?
It was mined from the Earth. What is unique about copper for one is
it’s ability to destroy bacteria. That is why hospitals are now
installing copper counters etc. Copper is bad in LARGE quantities in
septic systems for just this reason. In small quantities it doesn’t
harm the balance. In landfills, it doesn’t have a problem as such
either.

As for silver, When I use to go around to Jr. High Schools to
demonstrations of some fun basic chemistry experiments, we would
test water. We made our own sort of test solution from red cabbage.
The ohh’s and has from the experiments I hoped would steer more kids
in the direction of science, and not to be afraid of it. What I was
shocked to learn, was that the drinking water in Park City Utah, had
a high degree of silver nitrate. Why not since it was a at the start
a silver mining town. I asked my professors at the U of UT and they
said it was not harmful. It was naturally occurring from the Earth as
water leeched down through the mountains. It would have been there
even if mining had not happened. The animals would have all died off
long before man came along if it was harmful. The animal life was
abundant with no ill effects at all from the water over eons of time.

The acid content of our pickle is not harmful to the ground or the
ground water. Think of how we all try to change the PH of our soils
to encourage growth of plant life. We also fiddle with it in our
swimming pools. When my pool is back washed, both here and when I
lived in Tucson, it was done via a large hose that fed the lawn, and
trees in my yard. It was not put into a special tank and then sent to
a hazardous waste treatment plant.

Maybe it should if someone had pee’d in the pool, but that is a
whole different issue. (the later meant as a joke)

We are not for most of us talking about mass quantities.
Neutralizing it via a sodium carbonate is not going to again harm the
environment if it gets dumped at a landfill, our yards, or in small
mounts down the drain.

Our urine is uric acid. Does it harm the septic system it was
intended to treat? Ever see what uric acid does to copper? Makes a
wonderful patina of blueish color. It’s part of old Renaissance
metalsmith used to do patinas. Think of all the pigeon poop on
statues and the colors they make.

I for one when I get a cut will dip my finger into cold pickle. It
cleans and sanitizes it real fast. I also use super glue to close a
big cut. We are so inundated with fear for this and that and
everything will harm us all, that it is a wonder we even get out of
bed. Don’t fear the pickle.

Think of what a good solution to the problem is. If you have large
quantities, I would dry it out and take it where ever you want, and
feel good about myself. If it is small quantities, I would hope my
plants will love me for it. The earth has it’s own way of filtering
things. An example is like the water that leeches through the rocks
at Zion National Park. At weeping rock, one of the points of
interest, the rain with all the crap that is in the air falls on the
upper mountains above the overhang of weeping rock. That air has had
Los Angeles stuff floating in it, Some form Vegas, and yes even the
stuff from the Bombs exploded north of Vegas back in the 40’s and
50’s. It takes on average 30 years for the rain to filter through the
rock to drip out of the overhang. When the water gets down to the
overhang it is some of the cleanest to be found on Earth. All the
crap that can be found at the top of the mountain is not present at
the bottom. We are talking about 1000 feet of elevation change at
it’s highest point.

What I would be worried about is some of the really nasty stuff that
gets dumped in our environment. Yes as stewards we should take good
care of Mother Earth. We have no where else to go. Toulene scares the
shit out of me, but it gets dumped into our environment and does not
get filtered out.

One chem professor started using it to clean his personal lab and
his desk following a student making the remark that it was a great
cleaner for removing stains. 6 months later he was dead from cancer.
It had been absorbed via him leaning on his desk, through the skin.
Fluoride is a dangerous poison. It destroys your thyroid gland. Yet
our government has it in our water. Europe is banning it more and
more. States are also banning it, but there are hold outs that refuse
for dental reasons. I could break that down, but no need. You are
getting the picture that there are things we should be afraid of, and
then there are things that we should not be afraid of. Spent
neutralized pickle is not one to fear.

Aggie, the old copper lady of USF (bard. org)