Workshop wastewater treatment

Good day friends,

When I lived in the country I used an evaporation tank
( to treat all wastewater that
went down my sink. This system would have been much more efficient
with a domed cover and blower to exhaust the vapors. I was in full
compliance and never had to worry that one drop of workshop
wastewater was contaminating my well. As some of you know, I’m moving
from Providence back into the country. My wastewater consists of
polishing compound with traces of precious and non-precious metal,
silver polish, neutralized citric acid pickle, and minute amounts of
non-eco-friendly patina. So, here’s the question: Is anyone aware of
another inexpensive system to deal with wastewater other than using
an evaporation tank? A new evaporation tank with cover, heater and
blower will run me about $2,000.

Many thanks for your time,

Jeffrey Herman

Hello Jeffrey,

I presume the patinas are ammonia based, in which case vinegar
neutralizes them actually ammonia and vinegar neutralize each other,
so all you need is some activated carbon and charcoal, and a pit or
nitrile container that you can sink into your yard- they are
available for under a couple of hundred dollars from Berlin
Packaging company. They work well to avoid leaching anything and are
less labour intensive than digging and linning a pit with clay or
gunnite that will then have to have a coating of chemical resistant
material as a sealer (about 100 a gallon for spray on coating and
then the sprayer as you don’t want to brush it on unless you have a
roller on a long pole to get down into an ample sized (say 55 gallon
pit). I have used lined and purchsed wells or pits on my mountain
property for years away from any water sources and totally eliminated
any leakage using simple materials and some using purchased
receptacles that rivaled the evaporation tanks processing and were
not electricity dependent. It can be done cheaply and effectively
with ordinary elments like bicarboate of soda, silica gel, charcoal
and marine newturalisation crystals that work equally well in aquaria
or open pits without danger of fuming or built-up pressuriozation and
can be vented or not depending on what you are going to put into
them- from your list it sounds like the worst thing you have are
partinas…the residues from the compounds can be burnt once you have
collected enough sludge to make it worthwhile or sent to a refinery
that accepots polishings as they have the catalytic equipment it
takes to lessen the environmental affects and you get cah or credit
back for your efforts…even carpet is recyclable that way- but I am
certain you know that.

If you need any help finding sources or materials and are interested
in pit building as containment pools of sorts, and fired waste
burning vessels I’ll be happy to send you a list of sources for bulk
chemicals/elements, and sources for containers that are not
dissolvable by any of the small scale chemicals you plan tyo dispose
of and the use thereof will not contaminate any of your lands.


what about those folk doing acis etchng especially with nitric acid ?
copper nitrate? i think it is the dissolved metal that is a problem
but then i heard from a friend recently the epa doesnt like to see
nitric nuetralized or other wise down the drain. i dont think there
are many companies that accept acid waste


Hello Ari,

Thanks for your incredible reply! Here’s the deal: I use Technic’s
Tech-ox “P” for a silver patina. This patina has hydrochloric acid
and tellurium -

some nasty stuff. For 25+ years, I haven’t been able to find
anything safer or nearly as effective as this patina. I will also be
living on someone else’s property. I’m being very upfront with them
regarding all aspects of my business.

The evaporation tank I once had no longer exists, and I never had to
worry about DEM or EPA showing up at my door with a summons.

Any other recommendations?
Jeff Herman

I am very fortunate to be living in Portland, Or., where all kinds of
hazardous materials can be taken to a central disposal place where
they can dispose of it correctly. They also collect cans of unused
paint, and are able to reconstitute it, make into all sorts of
colors, and sell it, so that its collection possibly pays for
itself. We are very conscious of the environment here, and recycle
everything that can be recycled.

Alma Rands