What are ways of disposing concentrated sulfuric acid?

Question:

What are ways of disposing concentrated sulfuric acid?

Chemical Disposal:

One of the biggest institutional challenges in chemistry research is waste disposal. It's not something that is often discussed or paid much attention to, but the byproducts and leftovers of experiments need to be disposed of, and most often it's unsafe to pour them down the sink. Universities, laboratories, and industries have to follow strict rules on how to handle their chemical waste in order to prevent groundwater contamination and the disruption of nearby ecosystems. When these rules are ignored or circumvented, as they sometimes are by irresponsible corporations, the nearby human population usually suffers as their tap water becomes unsafe to drink and their health is compromised by their exposure to unsafe chemicals. The local biomes are usually affected even more, as exemplified by the havoc caused by oil spills.

Answer and Explanation:

To get rid of highly concentrated acid, the proper procedure is to first dilute and then neutralize them with a weak base like baking soda. Once neutralized, the solutions are usually safe to pour down the sink, IF there are no other contents like organics or metals. For example, chromic acid is not safe for the sink because the chromium ions are toxic and can contaminate the water. Sulfuric acid is safe to pour down the sink once it is brought to a neutral pH, though.

All dilutions and neutralization reactions need to be done with the proper protective equipment, inside of a fume hood. Always add acids to water when diluting.


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