Bucket of Water with Soaking Batteries, how dispose?

Thread Starter

Lawfulg48

Joined Jan 2, 2016
2
I just bought a house and in one of the closets I found a plastic bucket full of water and several batteries soaking in it. No idea why anyone would do that. The water is discolored, and I have cats, so I am afraid one of them might try to drink it. I want to get rid of it to be safe, but I am hesitant to pour it down the drain or into my yard because I suspect this would be toxic. Is my fear unfounded? What is the best way to dispose of this?
 

BReeves

Joined Nov 24, 2012
410
Would guess they are lipo's from an RC something. The recommend disposal among the RC people is to soak them in salt water then take them to a recycle dump.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
9,699
LiPo batteries have metallic lithium, which ignites with water and is effectively impossible to extinguish. What purpose does the salt water provide? I think one should search the Internet and give a recommended method based on the chemistry and not some wife's tale.

That is not to deny that the previous owner/occupant of the house didn't dispose of LiPo batteries in that way, but the question of what type of batteries has been asked of the TS and not answered. I think it is more prudent to wait for that answer. Eventually, the new occupant will need to know what is best to do. In the meantime, I would treat them as a potential fire hazard.

John

PS: I would put the bucket in the back yard carefully and call the fire department.
 
Last edited:

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I just bought a house and in one of the closets I found a plastic bucket full of water and several batteries soaking in it. No idea why anyone would do that. The water is discolored, and I have cats, so I am afraid one of them might try to drink it. I want to get rid of it to be safe, but I am hesitant to pour it down the drain or into my yard because I suspect this would be toxic. Is my fear unfounded? What is the best way to dispose of this?

Dump the water down the drain and run plenty of water.

Dry the batteries and bring them to the nearest Staple store if there is one in your area. They still run a recycling program (free, even if batteries were not purchased there). This includes all types of rechargeable batteries.

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/easy-on-the-planet/recycling-and-eco-services.html
(Scroll to bottom)

If you are concerned, transport them in a steel bucket full of sand. I work with sodium all the time. This is fine, lithium batteries actually only contain lithium metal when charged. The salt water conducts reasonably well and completely discharges the batteries while keeping them cool. They are dead.
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
I say dump the water down the drain or pour it in a street side storm drain next time you are having a good rain.

After that either take the batteries to a recycling point of just put them in a box and toss them in the nearest convenient dumpster.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I just bought a house and in one of the closets I found a plastic bucket full of water and several batteries soaking in it. No idea why anyone would do that. The water is discolored, and I have cats, so I am afraid one of them might try to drink it. I want to get rid of it to be safe, but I am hesitant to pour it down the drain or into my yard because I suspect this would be toxic. Is my fear unfounded? What is the best way to dispose of this?
The water bucket treatment is reserved for Lithium batteries and done by people who know what fire hazards exist. It takes 2-3 days and should be done outdoors where no electrolysis products can build up (chlorine if table salt is present) or hydrogen if acidic.

The water gets slightly caustic if a battery ruptures but nowhere close to drain cleaner caustic.

The main point of the salt is to give the water some conductivity, but not so much. Essentially a dummy load.

Some of the new, big batteries (12 to 16v and the size of a brick can take much longer. Lithium Motorcycle batteries, for example, a really bad invention from my point of view. Why save a few pounds and spend extra on a battery that is more likely to catch fire - that is for a later rant.
 
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