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'[PICLIST] [OT] Disposal of used PCB fabrication ch'
2001\03\22@134348 by John Waters

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Hi All,

I want to fabricate a few PCB myself at home, in the process, I will be
using some "Etch resist developer" and "Etching solution". I want to know if
I could dispose these used chemicals by simply flushing away from my toilet.
If not, how do I pre-process this waste to make it less corrosive before
disposing? I just want to make sure the drainage pipes in my or the
neighbours' houses won't get harm!

Thanks in advance!

John






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2001\03\22@175430 by Chris Carr

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> Hi All,
>
> I want to fabricate a few PCB myself at home, in the process, I will be
> using some "Etch resist developer" and "Etching solution". I want to know
if
> I could dispose these used chemicals by simply flushing away from my
>toilet.

Definitely Not.

> If not, how do I pre-process this waste to make it less corrosive before
> disposing?

By putting it in sealed containers and calling an authorised waste disposal
company.

>I just want to make sure the drainage pipes in my or the
> neighbours' houses won't get harm!
>

Of course the Sewerage Plant and the Environment into which these chemicals
are discharged does not matter.

My advise is always dispose of chemicals properly and that invariably means
never down the sewerage system.

Regards

Chris

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2001\03\22@190208 by Bill Westfield

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   > I want to fabricate a few PCB myself at home, in the process, I will
   > be using some "Etch resist developer" and "Etching solution". I want
   > to know if I could dispose these used chemicals by simply flushing
   > away from my toilet.

   Definitely Not.

I would say it depends on your definition of "a few."

"Etch resist developer" is likely to be sodium or potassium hydroxide or
carbonate (at least for "positive" photoresist.)  These are the major
ingredients in several washing aids and drain cleansers.

Used etchant is a slightly thornier issue, since copper is a fine
environmental poison.  Copper compounds are widely sold as "root killers"
for pouring down your drain, "algicides" for your pool, and fungacides (?)
for your garden.  Dumping "a few" boards worth of copper compounds down
your drain is not likely to add even measurably to the copper content at
the water treatment plant...  I've seen advice on the net to "neutralize"
Iron chloride etchant with sodium carbonate ("washing soda") this
percipitates relatively insoluble copper carbonate, which you can then
dispose of in a landfill, where it's not likely to do any more damage than
the thousands of tons of copper wire, copper pipe, and thrown-away
manufactured PCBs and PCB waste that are already there.  Or you can cast it
into concrete and put it someplace in your yard.  It'll help preserve
fenceposts anchored in it, maybe...

At larger volumes, you should be more careful.  There are a couple of
"reusable" etchant technologies.  Someone already posted thinktink's web
address - they use a rechargable peroxy/sulfuric etchant (etch some copper,
you wind up with more etchant than you started with!)  There is also a
copper chloride/HCl etchant described at
http://www.dnai.com/~rexa/Projects/CuCl_ech.html which I've been
experimenting with.  Seems to work nicely - I started with some pool acid,
some drug-store H2O2, and scrap copper wire, and now I've got nearly a
gallon of etchant...

IMO, Home PCB manufacturing seems unlikely to suffer the sorts of "scaling"
problems that make many household chemicals (say, "empty" paint cans) an
enviormental disposal issue.  (one person does it - no problem.  50% of the
people in a highly populated urban environment do it - BIG problem.  This
is probably true of PCB manufacturing, but the fact is that no significant
number of people ARE ever going to be doing it.)


   My advise is always dispose of chemicals properly and that invariably
   means never down the sewerage system.

That's bullshit.  EVERYTHING is a chemical...  Watch out for that dangerous
di-hydrogen monoxide - it kill thousands of people every year and no one
gives a second thought to letting it pour down their drains...

BillW

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2001\03\23@034811 by Roman Black

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Chris Carr wrote:

> By putting it in sealed containers and calling an authorised waste disposal
> company.
>
> >I just want to make sure the drainage pipes in my or the
> > neighbours' houses won't get harm!
> >
>
> Of course the Sewerage Plant and the Environment into which these chemicals
> are discharged does not matter.
>
> My advise is always dispose of chemicals properly and that invariably means
> never down the sewerage system.


Umm, just a thought, isn't "Draino" and other sink/drain
cleaners more corrosive than the usual pcb etchants?
Sure burns your hands more. Once you dilute it a few
times with a little tapwater it is less corrosive than
say lemon juice or vinegar. An acid or alkali is not
as bad as other toxic substances.
-Roman

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2001\03\23@040054 by Chris Carr

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>     My advise is always dispose of chemicals properly and that invariably
>     means never down the sewerage system.
>
> That's bullshit.  EVERYTHING is a chemical...

And  the Sewerage System is a Chemical Factory designed to process certain
chemicals and solid objects. Not Engine Sump Oil, Spent PCB Etchant and
other chemicals that get disposed of down this convenient system.

>Watch out for that dangerous
> Dihydrogen monoxide - it kill thousands of people every year and no one
> gives a second thought to letting it pour down their drains...
>
True, but it's one of the chemicals that a Sewerage System is designed to
process. All Sewerage Systems rely on the presence of  Dihydrogen Monoxide
for their operation and it will continue to be used for the foreseeable
future despite the fact that thousands of people are killed every year by
this chemical. As a Sewerage Engineer I know  put it " On average, there are
more people killed in the UK every year getting out of bed, than are killed
by us putting Dihydrogen Monoxide into the environment. Of course some years
things go wrong and there is a cluster of deaths, but what the hell, we
contribute to the economic heath of this nation so no politician is going to
ban us from using this chemical."

Regards

Chris

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2001\03\23@042839 by Chris Carr

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> Chris Carr wrote:
>
> > By putting it in sealed containers and calling an authorised waste
disposal
> > company.
> >
> > >I just want to make sure the drainage pipes in my or the
> > > neighbours' houses won't get harm!
> > >
> >
> > Of course the Sewerage Plant and the Environment into which these
chemicals
> > are discharged does not matter.
> >
> > My advise is always dispose of chemicals properly and that invariably
means
> > never down the sewerage system.
>
Roman Black Wrote
>
> Umm, just a thought, isn't "Draino" and other sink/drain
> cleaners more corrosive than the usual pcb etchants?
> Sure burns your hands more. Once you dilute it a few
> times with a little tapwater it is less corrosive than
> say lemon juice or vinegar. An acid or alkali is not
> as bad as other toxic substances.

Your point is taken, I did not fully answer the question.

The simplicity of a  Sewerage System hides the complexity of dealing with
many, often conflicting, requirements. What I was trying to say was have a
thought for the poor Sewerage Engineer who has enough problems trying to
keep ahead of the changing lifestyles of the human population in his
catchment area without having to cope with an influx of unexpected chemicals
(which generally get classified under the term Pollutant).

Regards

Chris

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2001\03\23@050819 by Jinx

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> more people killed in the UK every year getting out of bed,
> than are killed by us putting Dihydrogen Monoxide into the
> environment

Bit of a dilemma if you fall asleep in the bath then

My local council will cheerily pick up used FeCl and dispose
of it properly. Or so they say. After seeing some exposes on
what really happens to so-called recyclables and industrial
waste I wonder if I should just cut out the middle man and pour
it down the drain anyway. Which I wouldn't of course, the least
I can do is my part. I'm more concious about used FeCl
because of the Cu content and it's effect on marine life. I think
TBT (tributyl tin) anti-fouling paints and the likes are now
banned because of dead harbours, and I seem to recall that
copper isn't much appreciated by environmentalists either,
good for them. Once I've got through this bottle I'll change
etchants, promise

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2001\03\23@114621 by goflo

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Somewhere saw mention of rejuvenating Ferric Chloride by
recovering Cu electrolytically - Might be worth looking into...

Jack

Jinx wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2001\03\24@094219 by mervin

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First let me say, I'm new at this and only doing it as a hobby.

Reading the instructions on the back of my 16oz bottle of "PCB Etchant
Solution" (Ferric Chloride) from Radio Shack.
The last line reads: "Discard unused solution into toilet bowl and flush"

I prefer to reuse it a few times before discarding, it does loose its
strength requiring longer time to etch.

I agree with Roman, drain cleaners and even household cleaners, etc.. are
more harmful if for no other reason the concentration.  If your household
waste is NOT sent to a treatment plant (i.e. septic system or nothing at
all) then you should be concerned with the volume and type of other
household chemicals besides the odd few ounces of etchant solution.

Malcolm
{Original Message removed}

2001\03\24@111406 by Chris Carr

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What you just wrote triggered a memory (it has been a long time since I used
Ferric Chloride as an etchant). The label says "Discard the UNUSED
solution........."  (I wasn't Shouting just Highlighting).  Used solution
contains high levels of Copper and as John Gardner pointed out earlier
Copper is highly toxic to a lot of marine (and freshwater) life. It is that
copper which is the main problem not the acidity or otherwise of the
solution. I believe you will find that Copper Salts are present in a lot of
plant control products (or used to be before being banned). Copper salts are
also used to treat wood to prevent bacterial decay. I don't think that the
sewerage works would thank you for killing off their bacteria. That would
drop them right in the s***

What does your Federal and State Legislation say about disposal of
pollutants etc.?

Regards

Chris


{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2001\03\24@154042 by Bill Westfield

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   Used solution contains high levels of Copper and as John Gardner
   pointed out earlier Copper is highly toxic to a lot of marine (and
   freshwater) life.
           :
   I believe you will find that Copper Salts are present in a lot of
   plant control products (or [was] before being banned). Copper salts
   are also used to treat wood to prevent bacterial decay. I don't think
   that the sewerage works would thank you for killing off their bacteria.

My point is that copper (because of its widespread deployment) is almost
certainly something that the sewage treatment system has been designed to
cope with, and that the added copper from "a few PCB boards" is unlikely
to make any difference whatsoever...

BillW

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2001\03\26@042013 by sbb.simpeltron

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>> I don't think
>>     that the sewerage works would thank you for killing off
> their bacteria.
>
> My point is that copper (because of its widespread
> deployment) is almost
> certainly something that the sewage treatment system has been
> designed to
> cope with, and that the added copper from "a few PCB boards"
> is unlikely
> to make any difference whatsoever...
>
> BillW

A sewage treatment system can certainly not cope with copper salts, they
kill the bacteria.

This is the right recipe:
- Neutralise rinsing water and used etchant with developer (sodium
hydroxide, caustic soda)  until no more precipitate is formed.
- Let precipitate settle and poor off clear liquid, that can safely de
disposed into sewerage.
- The precipitant must go to a chemical waste collection point.

To avoid a lot of waste, use the CuCl2/HCl/H2O2 etchant.

Leo

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2001\03\26@092541 by Lawrence Lile

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We solve the problem of disposing used etchant simply.

I called my local utility, and they were comfortable with minute quantities
in ther waste stream.  So we can wash out etch tank, once it has drained, in
plain water.  They asked us to flush it heavily with plenty of water.  This
is no more than a teaspoon of used etchant at a go.

The rest, we keep in a big jug.  We've stiull got every drop of etchant
we've ever used.  I talked to our hazardous waste coordinator, and he said
"Just keep it."  So 3 gallon jugs of used etchant sit in the back of my haz
chemical cabinet.

-- Lawrence Lile

P.S.  Just don't mix it with any Dihydrous Monoxide, or Hydroxic Acid as it
is also known!

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2001\03\26@095838 by sbb.simpeltron

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>
> -- Lawrence Lile
>
> P.S.  Just don't mix it with any Dihydrous Monoxide, or
> Hydroxic Acid as it
> is also known!

As a chemist these names mean nothing to me. Do you have any formula? Or a
standard chemical name?
In general, all acid are wrong. They keep metals in solution.

Leo van Loon

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2001\03\26@103637 by Chris Carr

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> >
> > -- Lawrence Lile
> >
> > P.S.  Just don't mix it with any Dihydrous Monoxide, or
> > Hydroxic Acid as it
> > is also known!
>
> As a chemist these names mean nothing to me. Do you have any formula? Or a
> standard chemical name?
> In general, all acid are wrong. They keep metals in solution.
>
> Leo van Loon
>
> --
Have a look at http://www.dhmo.org/ which fully explains the dangers of
Dihydrous Monoxide

There is even a group of individuals out there who consider this chemical
to be safe http://www.armory.com/~crisper/DHMO/.

Regards
Chris

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2001\03\27@120554 by John Waters

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I think Alan's solution of re-cycling waste is the most environmental
friendly. It may even be a good product idea - a small self-contained tank
with all necessary electrodes and circuits, you use it for PCB copper
etching, when finished the job, press on a button and it will automatically
perform electrolysis to recover the etched copper. You can use it for a long
time without even adding new Ferric Chloride. I think many Hobbyist or
experimenter will buy if it is commercially available.   :-)

John


{Quote hidden}

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2001\03\27@121655 by Roman Black

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John Waters wrote:
>
> I think Alan's solution of re-cycling waste is the most environmental
> friendly. It may even be a good product idea - a small self-contained tank
> with all necessary electrodes and circuits, you use it for PCB copper
> etching, when finished the job, press on a button and it will automatically
> perform electrolysis to recover the etched copper. You can use it for a long
> time without even adding new Ferric Chloride. I think many Hobbyist or
> experimenter will buy if it is commercially available.   :-)
>
> John

Does this really work? How well? Any dangerous
gasses released? Could be a brilliant idea, I have
gone through LOTs of ferric chloride in the
last 25 years. :o)
-Roman

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2001\03\27@122653 by Roman Black

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Roman Black wrote:
>
> John Waters wrote:
> >
> > I think Alan's solution of re-cycling waste is the most environmental
> > friendly. It may even be a good product idea - a small self-contained tank
> > with all necessary electrodes and circuits, you use it for PCB copper
> > etching, when finished the job, press on a button and it will automatically
> > perform electrolysis to recover the etched copper. You can use it for a long
> > time without even adding new Ferric Chloride. I think many Hobbyist or
> > experimenter will buy if it is commercially available.   :-)
> >
> > John
>
> Does this really work? How well? Any dangerous
> gasses released? Could be a brilliant idea, I have
> gone through LOTs of ferric chloride in the
> last 25 years. :o)
> -Roman

Brainwave! How about using electrolysis to ETCH
the boards in the first place? Treat the board as
one electrode and remove the copper that way.
Umm, ok so as it gets near the end of the process
parts of the board would disconnect. But you could
remove the bulk of the copper? And all copper removed
would be deposited on your other electrode ready for
sale as scrap metal. No environmental problems.
-Roman

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2001\03\27@123749 by Dale Botkin

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On Wed, 28 Mar 2001, Roman Black wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Or just run the electrodes while etching.

Dale
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2001\03\27@175629 by Tony Nixon

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Roman Black wrote:
> Does this really work? How well? Any dangerous
> gasses released? Could be a brilliant idea, I have
> gone through LOTs of ferric chloride in the
> last 25 years. :o)
> -Roman

Hi Roman,

Can I ask you where you get your ferric chloride from?

I used to buy from Jaycar in powder form, but the don't sell it anymore.

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2001\03\27@200057 by Jinx

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> Can I ask you where you get your ferric chloride from?
>
> I used to buy from Jaycar in powder form, but the don't sell it anymore.

RS still have it, 2kg for NZ$71. The last lot I bought has lasted
a looooooong time. There's an alternative to RS. FeCl is used
extensively as a flocculent in water-treatment plants (ironic isn't
it considering the subject line). Industrial suppliers have it only in
bulk lots, anywhere from 25kg bags to 215kg drums. I've made
enquiries before at the local council and think I could get a few
scoops out of one of these bulk containers without too much
fuss. Considering how much they go through, the amount I need
to keep etching for a few years is floor sweepings to them. You
may find an industrial supplier more easily in Aus as it's a by-
product of titanium dioxide manufacture, something that isn't
done in NZ. Try DuPont or Orica (aka ICI), they're big in the
TiO2 caper

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2001\03\27@200926 by Tony Nixon

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Jinx wrote:
>
> > Can I ask you where you get your ferric chloride from?
> >
> > I used to buy from Jaycar in powder form, but the don't sell it anymore.
>
> RS still have it, 2kg for NZ$71. The last lot I bought has lasted
> a looooooong time. There's an alternative to RS. FeCl is used
> extensively as a flocculent in water-treatment plants (ironic isn't
> it considering the subject line).

Thanks Jinx, I'll look into it.

I usually etch boards face down in the FeCl and don't slosh or aerate it
at all. I let gravity do the work. The solution stays clean and all
residue gathers at the bottom and it lasts for months, depending on use
of course. I've got a batch over 2 years old and it still etches ok.

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2001\03\27@204136 by Jinx

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> I usually etch boards face down in the FeCl and don't slosh or aerate it
> at all. I let gravity do the work. The solution stays clean and all
> residue gathers at the bottom and it lasts for months, depending on use
> of course. I've got a batch over 2 years old and it still etches ok.

Me too

http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/0makepcb.html

I think I'll have a go at the electroplating Cu reclamation thing.
I've got 2 litres of depleted FeCl to try it on. I looked up the date
of the 2kg I bought and estimate that the 5 litres it makes would
last about 15 years of prototype making. It's already 6 years
old and there's a lot left

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2001\03\27@205449 by Tony Nixon

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Jinx wrote:
>
> > I usually etch boards face down in the FeCl and don't slosh or aerate it
> > at all. I let gravity do the work. The solution stays clean and all
> > residue gathers at the bottom and it lasts for months, depending on use
> > of course. I've got a batch over 2 years old and it still etches ok.
>
> Me too
>
> http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/0makepcb.html

Copy cat ;-)

http://www.picnpoke.com/projects/pcb.html


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2001\03\28@110727 by Roman Black

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Tony Nixon wrote:
>
> Roman Black wrote:
> > Does this really work? How well? Any dangerous
> > gasses released? Could be a brilliant idea, I have
> > gone through LOTs of ferric chloride in the
> > last 25 years. :o)
> > -Roman
>
> Hi Roman,
>
> Can I ask you where you get your ferric chloride from?
>
> I used to buy from Jaycar in powder form, but the don't sell it anymore.



Hi Tony, don't Altronics still sell it? I haven't
used much in the last two years, still have bit left.
Maybe ring around some of the chemical suppliers in
the Yellow Pages. :o)
-Roman

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2001\03\28@110808 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roman Black [SMTP:fastvidSTOPspamspamspam_OUTEZY.NET.AU]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 6:25 PM
> To:   spamBeGonePICLISTSTOPspamspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: [OT] Disposal of used PCB fabrication chemicals
>
> Brainwave! How about using electrolysis to ETCH
> the boards in the first place? Treat the board as
> one electrode and remove the copper that way.
> Umm, ok so as it gets near the end of the process
> parts of the board would disconnect. But you could
> remove the bulk of the copper? And all copper removed
> would be deposited on your other electrode ready for
> sale as scrap metal. No environmental problems.
> -Roman
>
I can remember electroylisis etching kits being sold many years ago in some
of the electronics mags over here in the UK.  I guess the idea never really
took off as I've not seen anything like this for a while.  Don't know the
reason why though, perhaps it affects the etching quality in some way?

Mike

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2001\03\28@110836 by Jinx

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> > Me too
> >
> > http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/0makepcb.html
>
> Copy cat ;-)
>
> http://www.picnpoke.com/projects/pcb.html

Handbags at dawn it is (and no swinging underarm)

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2001\03\28@180431 by Tony Nixon

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Roman Black wrote:
> Hi Tony, don't Altronics still sell it? I haven't
> used much in the last two years, still have bit left.

No, just Ammonium Persulphate, same as Jaycar.

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Tony

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'[PICLIST] [OT] Disposal of used PCB fabrication ch'
2001\04\16@210356 by Jinx
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Toxins and Silicon Valley

http://www.emagazine.com/may-june_1997/0597curr_2.html

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2001\04\17@123527 by Alice Campbell

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I recall listening to a presentation in the 1980s by a
Lawrence Livermore guy showing patterns of groundwater
recharge using tritium as a tracer.  After the talk, i
wandered up and asked him if they planned to clean up their
little 'experiment' anytime soon.  It turns out that in the
'bad old days', after the atom-smashing experiments that won
them so many nobel prizes, the janitors would just dump the
drums of tritium-water off the loading dock. Now, of course,
there's a huge amount of groundwater contaminated with high
levels of tritium.

Similar things happened back then in the aerospace industry,
spent solvents were often just dumped outside by the
janitors.

But for sheer economy of scale in polluting groundwater, its
hard to beat intensive agriculture, particularly feedlots,
citrus, and corn.  What the article doesnt mention is that
the valley was already polluted by agricultural waste before
industry took on the habit.

Dump it today, drink it tomorrow, i always say...


alice
> Toxins and Silicon Valley
>
> http://www.emagazine.com/may-june_1997/0597curr_2.html
>

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