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  1. #1

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    Proper way to dispose of Potassium Cyanide

    I am going to begin shooting wet plate in the next few weeks and while I am going to initially fix with regular hypo or rapid fix, I plan to work with KCN after I get my work flow down.

    I have searched here and looked over Quinn's forum but can't seem to find anything about disposal of spent KCN. What do wet platers here do?
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  2. #2
    Martin Reed's Avatar
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    Oxidation by potassium permanganate seems to be the best route, 4.05g pot perm. to 1g KCN. The resultant residue is suitable for treating as normal sewage effluent.

    http://safety.chemistry.unimelb.edu.au/cyanide.php

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Reed View Post
    Oxidation by potassium permanganate seems to be the best route, 4.05g pot perm. to 1g KCN. The resultant residue is suitable for treating as normal sewage effluent.

    http://safety.chemistry.unimelb.edu.au/cyanide.php


    Thanks Martin.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  4. #4

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    While Martin's suggestion should work, also be aware that cyanate ion is formed by that reaction and it is rather toxic as well.

    It may be prudent to take your spent cyanide solutions to a waste disposal facility. If you are using the cyanide solutions professionally, you most certainly will be in violation of federal, state, and local law by treating your own hazardous waste with out a permit to do so. Especially if you dump the "treated" waste down your local sewer without proof that you have properly treated the waste.
    Last edited by Kirk Keyes; 09-14-2009 at 06:41 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: I though of more reasons not too do it yourself
    Kirk

    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

  5. #5
    AshenLight's Avatar
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    I'd just make extremely sure that nothing acidic goes down the drain before or after KCN without a massive water flush. On second thought, Kirk has the best idea... a waste management company who can deal with potentially very lethal chemicals.

    Ash

  6. #6

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    A little off topic, but don't work with cyanide if there is no one else around to monitor you. You want to have someone around who can drag you out by the feet while you are lying unconscious on the floor, and then your partner can call the paramedics, hopefully in time to save your life.

    No matter how careful you are, mistakes can happen.

    Better yet, why not forget working with cyanide altogether?

  7. #7

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    According to most of the wet plate folks I have talked to, KCN provides a better final result than fixing a plate in plain hypo or rapid fix. Some folks say the only difference is in the color of the fixed plate but most claim better sepration of mid tones and brighter highlights. I won't know untill I compare fix to KCN.

    AS far as using Potassium Cyanide, I am well aware of the hazards and protocols in its use.

    One option I have is a local metal plating company may be willing to simply take the spent amount off my hands and add it to their used KCN which is professionally disposed of. They go through it by the hundreds of pounds over the course of a year. Otherwise I talked to a university chemist and he agrees with neutralizing with potassium permanganate and then taking it to our local hazmat disposal location.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn View Post
    Otherwise I talked to a university chemist and he agrees with neutralizing with potassium permanganate and then taking it to our local hazmat disposal location.
    I'd recommend skipping the home-treatment of hazardous waste and just take it to someone for proper disposal.
    Kirk

    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

  9. #9

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    Also note that industrially, cyanide waste is converted to cyanate by using clorine for large installations and bleach (hypochlorite) for smaller amounts. The pH of the cyanide solution is raised to pH 11 with hydroxide and then bleach (or chlorine gas) is added until there is an excess of chlorine present. To test for this excess, either an Oxidation/Reduction Potential (ORP) electrode is used with a pH/volt meter, or more simply, starch-iodide test paper can be used. The starch-iodide paper turns a deep blue-purple-black color in the presence of excess chorine.

    The issue I have with treating it yourself at home is the legality of doing it yourself, your ability to determine when all the cyanide has been neutralized and converted into cyanate, and the additional complexity of how metal-cyanide complexes do not react readily with this type of treatment.

    Free and simple cyanides are treatable this way, but metal complexes, such as iron complexes and especially noble metal complexes like gold, platinum, and palladium cyanide complexes. As you are forming silver cyanide, which is insoluble, I think you'll have some of that left over after your treatment. And with that there, there will still be cyanide in your "treated" waste after you do all the other stuff, which will put you back into problems with the legality of disposing of the solution down your drain.
    Kirk

    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Remember that carrying Cyanide solutions in an unlicensed vehicle/by unlicensed carrier (as in transporting hazardous waste) is illegal in some areas. I was involved with maintenance of a license & imposing safety policy for carriage, storage & disposal of Cyanide solutions in the UK and UK regulations ran parallel to many US States.

    But it really depends on the quantities involved, small volumes are often better neutralised as the waste is generated which minimises the ongoing safety issues of waste.storage then transporting it for disposal. It really should be picked up by a fully licensed carrier.

    Find out what other Wet Plate users do.

    Ian



 

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