Chemical disposal

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Trip_Wire, Jan 23, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Note: This was written for the thread : Explosives are fun - stories?

    Most of the Seattle Boeing plants, particulary the old ones reside in King County, WA. I was the Lt. incharge of the King County Sheriff's Department Bomb Disposal unit, among other things.

    It seems the Boeing Company, hired a new safety director. He decided to check all of the many chemical labs and chemical storage areas within the Boeing plant system.

    He found many cases, of poor storage and/or cases of chemicals left over the years, when they should have been destroyed, etc. Picric Acid, being one of the most common. This chemical form salts, around metal caps, etc. that become sensitive to heat shock and friction and can explode. In most cases this was fairly easy to dispose of, since they were usually in quart cans. This chemical was used in a lot of Japanese munitions in WW II. We had already handled many Japanese grenades and knee mortar rounds containing this chemical.

    He did; however; much to our horror, find a 55 gallon drum of Tetrahydofuran, that had been sitting around untouched in the lab in Plant #2 since WW II. We didn't know much about that particular chemical, as well as a lot of the others we had to deal with.

    So we looked it up, it seems that Tetrahydofuran has some strict storage requirements that were not followed. The drum had been opened; however, just sat where it was over the years since WW II until the mid 80's. I was also advised that flumes or salts can form in the this chemical, if not stored or handled right and could become explosive. These flumes, if jarred could collide with each other causing an explosion.

    Given the amount of tetrahydofuran we were dealing with we were very concerned. This area is in a highly populated area. So we carefully loaded the drum into our Bomb Disposal trailer and with a convoy, transported it to our local County garbage disposal pit, which we normally used for explosive disposals.

    We decided to place a 1/2 pound of C-4 on the top and a 1/2 Pound on the bottom of the drum. We also hooked up a ring main with Det cord. We hooked it all up to fire electrically.

    The weather was overcast and we knew this would cause some problems; however, we wanted to get rid of the stuff. It was also night time.

    We cranked the charge off! Wow!

    First a cone sized flash engulfed the whole area, then the loudest boom that I have ever heard, followed by a mushroom cloud that looked like an Atomic Bomb blast! :highfive:

    Of course the blast hit the overcast and bounced up and down through the valley breaking windows and cracking cement driveways! The local 911 board lit up with calls! :headbang:

    My crew and I were still standing there with mouths agast! It was and is the largest detonation that the unit ever did.
  2. The OC was a CNUT of the first order. If he doesn't know what he's doing he shouldn't be doing it. (Probably a nice guy - but please refer to the Carcinogenic Properties of furans)

    Its Picric Acid.

    And don't worry about getting wet!
  3. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    Thanks for the spell check! (On Picric Acid.)

    The OC was me! I am not a trained chemist. I did have an officer with a chemistry degree on the unit, whom I did consult with. I was trained as a police bomb and explosive disposal person. (EOD)

    That said the 55 gallon drum, of was a hazard to public saftey, As a police officer and bonb disposal officer it was my duty to reduce that danger.

    I was aware of the Carcinogenic Properties of the chemical; however, felt the danger of an explosion was a higher priority and danger at the time. I felt that the ring main with the gasoline, would and did take care of the carcinogenic properties. This same technique is used to dispose of chemical agents, etc.

    The was no other agency to turn to at the time, if there was I would have been the first one, to turn to another agency or pass it on to sombodyelse!

    We, took care of this danger to public saftey, the best way we could with the equipment and training we had. I felt that the drum could have exploded, anytime during our handeling of it. We were all very apprehensive to say the least.

    What would you have done? How would you remove the public saftey hazard? Some people are quick to criticize; however, rarely say how they would have accomplished the mission given the same circumstances and conditions.

    We also, had a nationwide problem with our high school labs with the improper storage of Picric Acid. We were tasked with having to pick up cans of Picric Acid from almost every high school in our jurisdiction. Most did have salts formed on the cans. Why they were in metal cans is beyond me! :thumbdown:

    Note: Chemicals unless they are a public saftey hazard are not handeled by the Police. In the cases that I mentioned they were.
  4. Q.E.D.

    Ever heard the phrase "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?"

    Easy, call a fcuking HAZMAT team. Better yet, get Boeing to call for one and let them pay for the stuff's disposal. If it had sat there for 40-odd years I dare say it wasn't an imminent threat to public safety and could have waited until the morning. Even if it was, from your own account, what you did seems roughly analogous to letting a plumber take care of an unexploded bomb on a building site.
  5. I've no idea about half of what you are waffling about, TW, but admit it... you just wanted to hear it go bang? :thumright:
  6. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    My your just full of BS advice you CRAB EOD "expert!"

    No "Hazmat" team existed at that time! The 55 Gal. drum had not been moved or touched during the whole time it was there. It had just sat there. Once it was discovered, it became a public saftey hazard.

    Boeing had already called a for-hire chemical disposal company and they refused to handle the drum. They suggested calling the police.

    Who the foulk asked you? You CRAB CNUT! I sure didn't, my return message was to rickshaw-major.

    What in the world would make you think you are an EOD expert now?

    Stick with things you know like new liberal politics, etc. cnut!

    Hazmat teams are a pretty new concept.:
  7. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Well, I must admit, I do like to hear things go BOOM! :numberone:

    "Explosives are fun - stories?"

    I was trying to post this in the above thread about things that go boom, because I thought it was a good one for that thread. It was sort of humorous and was a VERY big bang; however, it seems at least one cnut wants to make a slag out of it! :shakefist:
  8. Not an expert, just fairly well endowed with common fcuking sense. I find it hard, if not impossible, to believe that in an urban, industrial area the size of King County that there was not one company that would touch it or even let you know what you were dealing with- after all, people had been playing with the stuff for half a fcuking century. Boeing probably saw that you were a poor, simple schmuck and fed you a line so they wouldn't have to pay for anything.

    My only regret is that you weren't sat on top of it when it all went up.
  9. I'm not EOD, but if I had to deal with something that had the potential for a fcuking enormous bang, first thing I'd try to do is see if I could get it to go in-situ (with safety of the surrounding area in mind). If I couldn't do this and the only other option was to move it, I'd do it remotely, really fcuking remotely.

    What I would most certainly NOT do was get some other cnut to play with my toys and take the glory. Fcuk that sh!t - my bomb, my fcuking bang, nah p1ss orf!
  10. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    crabtastic: Common sense my ARRSE!

    Where did you get the idea we didn't know what we were dealing with? We knew exactly what we were dealing with cnut!

    We checked listings of chemical disposal companies, to include the one that Boeing had called, to verify what they had told us as well as any data they had on the chemical involved, you cnut!

    Yeah, I'm sure you would love to see what you said below:

    "My only regret is that you weren't sat on top of it when it all went up. "

    Well It's not going to happen cnut, so get over it!

    Go back to your usual caustic remarks and love of new liberal politics, and leave the EOD field to people who have been trained and work in the field. You fcucking cnut!
  11. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    Your are somewhat right!

    We had no choice, the drum had to be removed, once it was found and declared a potential bomb in a public place.

    As for remote moving, yes, we would have loved to be able to use remote methods to move the drum. We had no robots in those days and even the small ones used today, wouldn't have been able to handle a full 55 gal. drum. There are robots nowdays that could; however most Bomb Disposal units use the smaller ones, because they can fit into aircraft, houses, etc.

    Most of our remote handeling techniques in those days, were ropes and pulleys. (Which are still in use.)

    The chance of a rope breaking, etc. under the weight of the drum, led us to use manpower to place the drum in the bomb trailer for transport to the demolition site.

    Nobody in EOD likes hands on, unless it is the only way!
  12. The best explosive stories I heard of, were from this bloke Blaster Bates

    I'll see if I can dig out a few recordings and transcribe a couple of his stories.

  13. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

  14. Wow!. You go to sleep, wake up and the dogs of war have been let loose!

    I am aware that you have different call-out systems across the Pond. I am also aware that long before 9/11 closer integration of the various agencies was being implemented (post Lake Tahoe 1980 I think).

    To the problem in hand. Sorry we must agree to differ. The flumes were formed by Peroxide salts. The exact circumstnces I do not know but your chemist could have suggested ways of dissolving said salts. Its a personal thing but I would have been wary about banging the stuff because whilst the salts are bang bang material the other stuff isn't - hence my apprehension.

    Did you have a nice bang?
  15. Trip....

    speaking as an ex RE with an inherent interest in "bangy things" I can only see one error in the way this was handled.... no...two

    error one....

    Nowhere NEAR enough PE used as the kicking charge

    error two...

    no camera!!