Sodium Disposal

(YouTube link)

In 1947, this was how they disposed of hazardous materials. 20,000 pounds of sodium were dumped into Lake Lenore in Washington State. You may remember tossing small amounts of sodium into water in high school chemistry class, so you can guess what happens. -via Metafilter and Fully Geek


To be fair, the newsreel states that the lake was already alkali and uninhabited by aquatic creatures. Sounds like a decent place to ditch the stuff to me...
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True, it seems rather harmless. I was mainly impressed with the explosions! I also wonder if anyone can shed light on the chemical effect of mixing sodium with alkalai. It seems like something I should remember, but I don't.
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Holy shit, I live in Washington and fish lake Lenore whenever I'm in the East Side of the state. Incredibly, it has a very large population of huge fish. I can't believe that they'd do something like this, alkali lakes can and do support aquatic creatures.
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Sodium? Okay. But once you give permission for sodium, what's next? I don't care if there's fish in there or not. There are other problems that can result from haphazardly dumping hazardous waste.
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Hmm...

They dump it in a lake because no carrier will deliver it to a purchaser? If they could deliver it to a lake, why couldn't they deliver it to a purchaser?
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Miss Cellania, it is not the mixture of Sodium (Na) with Alkali, because Sodium is an Alkali Metal (which is basically all of the Elements on the most left side of the table; Sodium, Cesium, etc.), it is the mixture of Sodium with water (H20).
2 Na + 2 H2O ---> 2 NaOH + H2. Which is basically, 2 moles of Na and 2 moles of H20, yields Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and Hydrogen Gas.
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You can just picture the nerds (in the good sense) back in the day, sitting around a table figuring out the most fun way to get rid of this stuff.

"Let's find a lake we can roll these barrels of sodium into! It'll be wicked cool!"
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