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Cleaning Gick-laden Tank?  RSS feed

 
William James
gardener
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Location: Northern Italy
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Hi,
I recently made a huge mistake and didn't get 2 of my 4 1000 liter tanks professionally "regenerated", a process that uses an additive and gets rid of most chemicals inside the tanks.

So, I now have two tanks that came from a cosmetics factory, it probably had something like shampoo or conditioner or something else. The problem is that we spent about an hour washing them out with water and using a broom to wash the insides. I thought it would be enough, but sadly it wasn't.

What's worse is that I've included them in a structure, so taking them off the property and getting them regenerated now is impossible (and would be expensive anyway).

I was wondering if there is any way I could clean the tanks myself.

I thought of two strategies which might fix the situation once and for all:

1) Putting something very high in nitrogen inside the tank when full of water and encouraging algae to bloom in the hopes that bring life into the water will also lower the nastiness of the water.
2) Putting a large amount of vinegar inside the tank when full, as to emulate an "additive" that essentially breaks the bonds of the gick.

Do these ideas sound crazy? Anyone have a better idea?
Thanks,
William
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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William, not answering your question, asking another one
Are the tanks for potable water? Wondering, as I imagine cosmetics wouldn't generally be stored in food-safe plastic.
Shampoo. That sounds challenging!
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale here. You could link this to the greenhouse thread. I'm the one who asked if they were used for wine.

I think that if you managed the water for a major algae bloom, the biological processes might go a long way toward making them acceptable.
 
William James
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Here are some pics of the greenhouse and tanks.
http://www.permies.com/t/27549/greenhouses/Greenhouse-built

The water should be used to water a vegetable garden, so not potable but generally clean of toxic chemicals and chemmy-slime.
W
 
John Elliott
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So after a lot of washing and scrubbing there might be a few soap molecules (that's what shampoo and conditioner are) clinging to micro-crevices on the surface? Is that what you are worried about? I wouldn't be. A few soap molecules are not a big deal. There are plenty of plants that make their own soap molecules, that a few more aren't going to hurt things.

I wouldn't think that vinegar or nitrogen or algae are going to accomplish anything that flushing with a lot more water (in the course of using them) won't. There is a way to make sure that surfaces are absolutely clean on the atomic scale, and that is to oxidize it with the most powerful oxidizing agent you can find; 30% H2O2, potassium dichromate, bleach, ozone, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of those oxiding agents will also do a good job oxidizing plastic, making it brittle and generally shortening its useful life.

I would just say put them into service and flush lots of water through them, and soon they will have as many soap molecules in them as your standard homeopathic remedy (none).
 
K Nelfson
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William James wrote: I thought it would be enough, but sadly it wasn't.


How do you know it wasn't enough? What are the symptoms?

A friend of mine is a chemist and recommended cleaning plastic containers with a little ethanol. Cheap vodka will do the trick. The important thing is to get it in contact with all of the plastic without having to fill the whole tank. So maybe you can rig something up with one of those flexible-impeller pumps, a drill motor, and some tubing. Maybe you could get by with just a few liters.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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K Nelfson wrote:
William James wrote: I thought it would be enough, but sadly it wasn't.


How do you know it wasn't enough? What are the symptoms?


I thought that scrubbing with a broom would be enough to clean the tank. I don't think it was enough because:

a) there is still a smell of shampoo.
b) when the rain water goes in, it remains crystal clear and even has a slight sheen at times. All the tanks have rainwater and they usually get murky within a few days. These tanks do not. This says to me that something is killing the bacteria.
c) when I put it on vegetables there *might* have been some bad reactions (polymer dots from splashed water, a few plants generally looking ill)

I'm just discontinuing use for direct application to vegetables until I can figure out what to do.

I like the solution with vodka.
William

 
John Elliott
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William James wrote:

I thought that scrubbing with a broom would be enough to clean the tank. I don't think it was enough because:

a) there is still a smell of shampoo.
b) when the rain water goes in, it remains crystal clear and even has a slight sheen at times. All the tanks have rainwater and they usually get murky within a few days. These tanks do not. This says to me that something is killing the bacteria.
c) when I put it on vegetables there *might* have been some bad reactions (polymer dots from splashed water, a few plants generally looking ill)

I'm just discontinuing use for direct application to vegetables until I can figure out what to do.

I like the solution with vodka.
William



a) these odor molecules may have permeated the plastic, in which case the plastic is going to continue to smell like shampoo until it completely outgasses (could take months).

b) It doesn't take much to create a sheen. One drop of oil or soap spreads over quite an area, because it sets up only one molecule thick. If you get some oil-eating bacteria (go take swipes from a greasy car park) they may chow down on the oily molecules and speed up the cleaning process.

c) Apply the water to the soil and not to the leaves. Soil bacteria and fungi will make short work of residual soap molecules.

d) Save the vodka for the dinner table and use acetone or rubbing alcohol if you want to try a rinse.
 
jimmy gallop
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Location: east and dfw texas
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hydrogen peroxide and aeration and sun ,will clean about any thing.
 
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