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#1
Old 06-25-2009, 04:37 PM
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How do I safely dispose of watered-down gasoline?

My gas can, which was sitting outside, turned out to have a defective cap, and now I have several gallons of unusable gasoline. What's the easiest & safest way to dispose of it?

Thanks!
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#2
Old 06-25-2009, 04:51 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Check with your city or county for where you can dispose of hazardous waste. In my area, it's the county that handles it - batteries, paint, refrigerant, gas, oil, even old computer parts.

They have weird hours and are only open a few months of the year, but that's really our only option.
#3
Old 06-25-2009, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
but that's really our only option.
Well there's always a drain.
#4
Old 06-25-2009, 05:19 PM
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Gasoline and water don't reasdily mix. They separate VERY quickly, with the gas being on top. If you have a clear glass container and some sihphoning equipment, you should be able to remove the gasoline pretty easily.
#5
Old 06-25-2009, 05:34 PM
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I would also check with the Fire Department. That is who we take our hazardous household products to here.
#6
Old 06-25-2009, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins
Well there's always a drain.
That's illegal in most areas.

A couple legal ideas:

Filter the gas through felt - the gas will go through, but the water will not pass through the felt.

Gas in an open-top container such as a bucket - freeze it. The water will freeze and can be removed in one lump.

A local auto dismantler may accept it - they already have to drain the fluids out of scrapped cars.
#7
Old 06-25-2009, 06:11 PM
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A chamois cloth will filter out water too.

I'll be giving the felt a try as it's lot's cheaper than getting a chamois.
#8
Old 06-25-2009, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
That's illegal in most areas.
Eh, (getting caught is) not very probable.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 06-25-2009 at 06:17 PM.
#9
Old 06-25-2009, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Gasoline and water don't reasdily mix. They separate VERY quickly, with the gas being on top. If you have a clear glass container and some sihphoning equipment, you should be able to remove the gasoline pretty easily.
This is good advice. Just pour it into a clear glass container and let it separate, pour the gas off the top and put it in the lawn mower or another container. If you are careful you might only end up with water contaminated with a cup of gas or even just a few drops.

That water can be put on a few weeds. Or if you live in an urban area where that isn't a good idea, take it to wherever you take used motor oil for recycling.
#10
Old 06-25-2009, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Eh, (getting caught is) not very probable.
But getting smote by Mother Earth is.
#11
Old 06-25-2009, 06:40 PM
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I might be wrong but I thought at one time I heard that gas line antifreeze, will get rid of the water or mix with it and allow you to burn it.
#12
Old 06-25-2009, 06:43 PM
SD Curator of Critters
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Eh, (getting caught is) not very probable.
[Moderator Note]

It's still not at all helpful to propose illegal methods in response to a GQ question. Let's try to be more responsible when answering questions in this forum

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
#13
Old 06-25-2009, 08:25 PM
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Try STA-BIL, sort of like dry gas.
#14
Old 06-25-2009, 09:32 PM
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You can put it in a metal bucket, and light it. The gasoline will burn off, leaving the water intact!

S^G [/d&r]
#15
Old 06-25-2009, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Gasoline and water don't reasdily mix. They separate VERY quickly, with the gas being on top. If you have a clear glass container and some sihphoning equipment, you should be able to remove the gasoline pretty easily.
Seconded - this is easy to do and works well. Much better to use the gas than to discard it.
#16
Old 06-25-2009, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Check with your city or county for where you can dispose of hazardous waste. In my area, it's the county that handles it - batteries, paint, refrigerant, gas, oil, even old computer parts.

They have weird hours and are only open a few months of the year, but that's really our only option.
In my area, the town dump has a tank for used motor oil, and they're open on Saturdays year round. That's where I'd take it.
#17
Old 06-25-2009, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Seconded - this is easy to do and works well. Much better to use the gas than to discard it.
Unfortunately, it's several gallons, and the largest glass container I have is probably about 1/2 gallon. While I would prefer to use it than to discard it, I really don't want to have to handle it like this (which would require two gas cans, the siphon and the glass jar). Probably easiest to dispose of it in my town's hazardous waste program.
#18
Old 06-25-2009, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Gas in an open-top container such as a bucket - freeze it. The water will freeze and can be removed in one lump.
Unless you live below the Antarctic Circle, that would be a very dangerous thing to do. Gasoline fumes will concentrate inside a freezer, and it is not inconceivable that the motor, fan or other ignition source could cause an explosion and fire.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 06-25-2009 at 11:39 PM.
#19
Old 06-26-2009, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by PatriotGrrrl View Post
In my area, the town dump has a tank for used motor oil, and they're open on Saturdays year round. That's where I'd take it.
Our recycling center took away the oil collection container, because people put water and gas in the oil container. Don't put water or gas in the oil collection container.
#20
Old 06-26-2009, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Unless you live below the Antarctic Circle, that would be a very dangerous thing to do. Gasoline fumes will concentrate inside a freezer, and it is not inconceivable that the motor, fan or other ignition source could cause an explosion and fire.
Also, when you take the can out of the freezer it will be cold. Water will condense in the gas. You are right about the ignition potential. Laboratories use special freezers that are specifically designed for flammable materials.
#21
Old 06-26-2009, 09:24 AM
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If you have a flat outdoor concrete surface, pour some fluid on the surface and wait a few minutes until it evaporates. Lather rinse repeat.

In the summer around here I could probably dispose of a gallon an hour without ever having enough fumes in one place to be dangerous. So the job can be done over a couple weekends while otherwise hanging around the house.

As between polluting the air with VOCs versus polluting groundwater with dumping, I'd much rather use the atmosphere as my sink.

I'll also point out that if burned in an engine 100% of those gasoline molecules, or their breakdown products, would have been released into the atmosphere anyhow.
#22
Old 06-26-2009, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Running with Scissors View Post
Unfortunately, it's several gallons, and the largest glass container I have is probably about 1/2 gallon. While I would prefer to use it than to discard it, I really don't want to have to handle it like this (which would require two gas cans, the siphon and the glass jar). Probably easiest to dispose of it in my town's hazardous waste program.
Siphon from the bottom.

Put one side of the gas can on a board or other support so as to create a specific low point. Allow wait a few minutes to allow the water to settle. (In an airplane I've heard one should wait ten minutes after refueling before testing for water during the preflight. But in that case there's a lot of mixing going on.) Put the end of the siphon tube at the lowest point of the makeshift 'sump' and draw the water off into the glass container. When you have a layer of gasoline in the jar, the remaining liquid in the can should be gas.
#23
Old 06-26-2009, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
I'll also point out that if burned in an engine 100% of those gasoline molecules, or their breakdown products, would have been released into the atmosphere anyhow.
I've bolded the important part - a well-tuned engine won't be chucking out much in the way of unburnt fuel.

The breakdown products will be largely CO2 and water, which are a lot less noxious. (Not that I am suggesting that a few gallons' worth of petrol vapour spread over a month or so will be the end of the world...)
#24
Old 06-26-2009, 10:43 AM
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How much property do you have and/or have available from a friend or neighbor? This sounds like the time for a campfire.

(I know that it could be dangerous to start a campfire with gasoline. Just be careful)
#25
Old 06-26-2009, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Siphon from the bottom.

Put one side of the gas can on a board or other support so as to create a specific low point. Allow wait a few minutes to allow the water to settle. (In an airplane I've heard one should wait ten minutes after refueling before testing for water during the preflight. But in that case there's a lot of mixing going on.) Put the end of the siphon tube at the lowest point of the makeshift 'sump' and draw the water off into the glass container. When you have a layer of gasoline in the jar, the remaining liquid in the can should be gas.
Now this is an idea I can work with. Only trouble is, the only siphon I've got is the one I use for my fish tanks, so I'll need to look around...
#26
Old 06-26-2009, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
This sounds like the time for a campfire.

(I know that it could be dangerous to start a campfire with gasoline. Just be careful)
Don't.

Up until recently, burning yard waste was permitted where I live. One day I decided I needed a little accelerant to get the fire going, so I used just a little gasoline. By the time I'd rolled up some paper to use as a torch and lit it, the gas fumes had made their way to the other side of the fire ring and out the gaps of the blocks. When I lit the pile flames extended past the ring and onto the lawn, which slopes away from the house. The fumes burned off quickly and no damage was done; but I learned never to start a fire with gasoline.
#27
Old 06-26-2009, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Running with Scissors View Post
Now this is an idea I can work with. Only trouble is, the only siphon I've got is the one I use for my fish tanks, so I'll need to look around...
Yeah, you wouldn't want to use your fish tank siphon. Just about any hardware store should have a fuel siphon for not much money.

I should have mentioned that for proper siphoning the gas can needs to be higher than the jar. Undoubtedly you know this, but I'm putting it out there anyway.
#28
Old 06-26-2009, 12:18 PM
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Call your local fire department, and see if they'd use the gasoline for a training exercise. We commonly use gasoline fires in large metal trays for fire extinguisher and foam stream training.

Some will also use it for hazmat disposal training.

If it was a smaller amount (less than a half gallon), I'd use it to start a yard waste fire. Where I am, burning brush is legal under some circumstances.
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