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Washing coolant down a storm drain? #5356985 02/22/20 01:57 AM
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jharrison Offline OP
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Just want your thoughts on this event.

I'm in the US Army stationed in Germany. While driving a HMMWV on a US base, a lower radiator hose busted and our vehicle dumped all its coolant into the road. They're VERY strict about any type of fluid leak here and even a few drops of oil on the pavement can become a really big deal (in many cases I think out of proportion). The procedure in this type of event is to call the base fire department and inform them of the spill. The FD said to just hose the coolant into the sewer -- thanks for calling and goodbye.

I always thought coolant is pretty toxic by itself, but I would imagine it picks up heavy metals by circulating through the cooling system (lead in the radiator solder, etc).


Last edited by jharrison; 02/22/20 02:00 AM.
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5356988 02/22/20 02:28 AM
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Sounds like whoever answered the phone lacked proper hazmat training.


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357006 02/22/20 03:52 AM
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search indicates ethylene glycol is biodegradable.
so not a crime against humanity. Yet.
No idea about DexCool.

Last edited by vw7674; 02/22/20 03:53 AM. Reason: extra ifo
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357011 02/22/20 04:07 AM
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Olas Offline
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without carrying a huge stock of kitty-litter, how are you going to soak up an entire coolant system fill?

Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357049 02/22/20 06:49 AM
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Some cities in the US are fine with it going in the sewer IIRC. So I read here I guess.


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357052 02/22/20 06:52 AM
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Your title said storm drain, but your explanation said sewer. There is a difference. Sewers are OK because it goes through the degradation process. Storm drain is a no-no because it goes straight into the nearest river.

However, I understand you mean storm drain. They were being practical and I agree with your assessment of the issue. smile. For those getting rid of their own antifreeze, pouring it down the storm drain is unacceptable. Pouring it down your toilet in a municipal area with a real treatment plant is OK. Taking it to a recycling place is best.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/22/20 07:19 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357063 02/22/20 07:22 AM
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joegreen Offline
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I read that you are supposed to just pour the coolant down the drain.


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: vw7674] #5357067 02/22/20 07:31 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline
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Originally Posted by vw7674
search indicates ethylene glycol is biodegradable.
so not a crime against humanity. Yet.
No idea about DexCool.


Almost all coolants are 85 to 95 % ethylene glycol including Dexcool. This pertains to concentrated coolants. The 50/50 coolants are 1/2 that. smile

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/22/20 07:36 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: joegreen] #5357100 02/22/20 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by joegreen
I read that you are supposed to just pour the coolant down the drain.


Which drain. Not the storm drain.
smile

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/22/20 08:36 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357109 02/22/20 08:45 AM
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The Solution to Pollution is Dilution!!


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357129 02/22/20 09:21 AM
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As has already been noted, there is a big difference between the septic system (sanitary sewer) and the storm drain. And not all municipalities permit glycol disposal down the drain, we are on the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District and they do permit it but also encourage recycling instead. You need to know what you're doing and make sure that the municipality permits disposal in the sanitary system.


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: Olas] #5357132 02/22/20 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Olas
without carrying a huge stock of kitty-litter, how are you going to soak up an entire coolant system fill?


Pig mats and those tube sock things.

Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357143 02/22/20 09:38 AM
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[quote=jharrison]Just want your thoughts on this event.

I'm in the US Army stationed in Germany. While driving a HMMWV on a US base, a lower radiator hose busted and our vehicle dumped all its coolant into the road. They're VERY strict about any type of fluid leak here and even a few drops of oil on the pavement can become a really big deal (in many cases I think out of proportion). The procedure in this type of event is to call the base fire department and inform them of the spill. The FD said to just hose the coolant into the sewer -- thanks for calling and goodbye.

I always thought coolant is pretty toxic by itself, but I would imagine it picks up heavy metals by circulating through the cooling system (lead in the radiator solder, etc).



Last edited by philipp10; 02/22/20 09:40 AM.
Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: kschachn] #5357195 02/22/20 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by kschachn
As has already been noted, there is a big difference between the septic system (sanitary sewer) and the storm drain. And not all municipalities permit glycol disposal down the drain, we are on the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District and they do permit it but also encourage recycling instead. You need to know what you're doing and make sure that the municipality permits disposal in the sanitary system.

Same with Madison. [Linked Image]


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Re: Washing coolant down a storm drain? [Re: jharrison] #5357204 02/22/20 10:47 AM
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JohnG Offline
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Many localities in FL have hazardous waste disposal and collection facilities. Sometimes you can go to the nearest fire station for collection and storage. There is always one located just outside of the Volusia County landfill site. These would be excellent places to at least check for proper disposal methods.

Florida is very protective of it's fresh water supplies. Even applications of certain fertilizers are prohibited during certain months, and the amount is always controlled.
Many other states may have similar arrangements.

I don't see absorbents as the answer to disposal here. But agree that this would allow for slower release and longer degradation by bacteria to occur.

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