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Guardian Environmental Technologies
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reactive chemical spills

Treating Reactive Chemical Spills

All industrial facilities should have facility response plans in place to comply with published regulations related to treating reactive chemical spills.  Treating reactive chemical spills, both large and small, requires more than just the usual hazmat products used in a facility response plan.

Let’s take for example industries that work with alkali metals. Sodium is the most abundant of the alkali metals that occur in nature followed by potassium, lithium, rubidium, and caesium.

For those industries that work with alkali metals, one major concern when treating reactive chemical spills is how vigorously these metals respond to water and quickly form hydrogen gas.

This is a major concern when treating reactive chemical spills from alkali metals because the alkali metals are exothermic. The heat generated can easily ignite the hydrogen gas. And then the rate of reaction and the hazard severity increase as atomic weight increases.

Take a look at these videos as an example:

In this video watch potassium react violently with water:

Potassium water 20.theora.ogv

In this video watch caesium react explosively with water even at low temperatures:

Cesium water.theora.ogv

Since these chemicals have an instant reaction when exposed to water, using firefighting foam in the event of a spill is not always the most effective way of controlling vapor production because of the presence of water in the firefighting foam.

Our customers have found that using PetroGuard Chemical Spill Solidifying Absorbent first and then firefighting foam significantly reduces the production of toxic vapors instantly.

PetroGuard is not a neutralizing agent that can sometimes cause dangerous problems. Instead, PetroGuard is an absorbent that will treat and encapsulate and absorb the liquid chemical physically to reduce or prevent it from hydrolyzing. This limits the chemical’s capacity to create acid vapors making the spill cleanup process safer and more cost effective.

It often takes large amounts of chemical neutralizers to deactivate a reactive chemical spill. Comparatively, only a small amount of PetroGuard is needed.  And as an absorbent used for treating reactive chemical spills, PetroGuard is known for its quality, speed and efficiency, having an absorption capacity of over 400%.

Following up the use of PetroGuard with an application of firefighting foam gives an added level of security and allows time to determine next steps for removal of treated chemicals. Generally, this is done by collecting the solidified matrix and securely packaging it for disposal. Incineration is the recommended method of disposal.

Take a minute and watch this video demonstration of how PetroGuard captures TiCl4.

PetroGuard vs TiCl4

If you are interested in a better approach of treating reactive chemical spills, give us a call.  We would be happy to share our customer’s success stories and look forward to making you one of them.

Since 1992 Guardian Environmental Technologies, Inc. has been helping customers enhance their overall productivity by providing practical and time-saving spill response and bulk solidification products.  For more information you can contact us at (860) 350-2200 or