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How acidic is your canal?


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Has anyone ever done a litmus paper test on their canal water?

 I remember many years ago, a distinctive acidic smell from the water spray in the locks around Nantmich.

I wonder if it effects Hull corrosion.

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It's a lot better than it ever was.

I recall back in the 60s when parts of the BCN glowed at night, and if you chucked the blades back bubbles of phosphorus oozed up from the bottom like a science fiction film.

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The dog likes to drink from the canal and has tasted most of the canals and rivers, the only one she won't drink from is the Weaver.

 

...........Dave

 

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45 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

It's a lot better than it ever was.

I recall back in the 60s when parts of the BCN glowed at night, and if you chucked the blades back bubbles of phosphorus oozed up from the bottom like a science fiction film.

The Chemical Arm in Oldbury had a brilliant white bottom which was clearly visible a while after any boats had moved and the silt had settled.

And occasionally the canal caught fire due to the quantity of oil on the surface.

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1 hour ago, dmr said:

The dog likes to drink from the canal and has tasted most of the canals and rivers, the only one she won't drink from is the Weaver.

 

...........Dave

 

I wondered if your dogs dislike of the Weaver was salinity based, salt mine run off etc,

A bit of googling seemed to show raised salt levels but maybe not enough to effect taste, maybe your dog is particularly sensitive?

Anyway a more comprehensive link to cover up my incoherent ramblings 

http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/aquabiol/BIOL272_Web/Topic1/weaver_info/water_chemistry.htm

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6 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

There are huge piles, mountains,  of rock salt on the banks of the Weaver at Winsford Salt Mine, the runoff goes into the river.

Its the salt that wrecked the Anderton Lift cylinders not very long after it was built.

And quite a few buildings "on the piss" because of mine workings.

The whole area is riddled with chemical works and holes in the ground 

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1 hour ago, David Mack said:

The Chemical Arm in Oldbury had a brilliant white bottom which was clearly visible a while after any boats had moved and the silt had settled.

And occasionally the canal caught fire due to the quantity of oil on the surface.

The white on the canal bed was phosphorus, the burning effect due to the fact that white phosphorus ignites on contact with air. I recall boating past Clayton’s yard at the bottom of the Crow , the prop wash stirring up lots of the stuff with the attendant white smoke. Those were the days!

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The chemical works down the bottom end of the Weaver, where it's canal not river, make sodium and chlorine in giant electrochemical cells which have a pool of elemental mercury in the bottom to form the anode. (the sodium forms an amalgam with the mercury, which stops it immediately reacting with the chlorine gas being produced in the cell). The amount of mercury "lost" to the waterway over the decades is in the tonnes range, allegedly. Don't water your veggies with that canal water.

 

MP.

 

Edited by MoominPapa
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1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

There are huge piles, mountains,  of rock salt on the banks of the Weaver at Winsford Salt Mine, the runoff goes into the river.

Its the salt that wrecked the Anderton Lift cylinders not very long after it was built.

And the sewer outlet [DSCF1653%5B3%5D]

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7 minutes ago, MoominPapa said:

The chemical works down the bottom end of the Weaver, where it's canal not river, make sodium and chlorine in giant electrochemical cells which have a pool of elemental mercury in the bottom to form the anode. (the sodium forms an amalgam with the mercury, which stops it immediately reacting with the chlorine gas being produced in the cell). The amount of mercury "lost" to the waterway over the decades is in the tonnes range, allegedly. Don't water your veggies with that canal water.

 

MP.

 

Would the mercury settle in the sediment or would it escape as some sort of salt and be able to mix with the water?

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When I cruised the Weaver a few years ago there was a noticeable change in the marginal vegetation somewhere below Northwich - one of the lockkeepers advised this was due to salinity, not just from run off as it is further upstream but in the ground water. 

 

Going back to the BCN, I'm sure I read somewhere that the day boats leaked more at Anglesey Basin than when in Gas Street basin, because the water at Gas Street was more viscous... 

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1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I was trying to avoid mentioning that. Hopefully its either treated sewage or surface run off.

It is what helps keep our licence fees down! CaRT do quite a good business in both accepting and providing water supplies.

1 hour ago, tree monkey said:

Would the mercury settle in the sediment or would it escape as some sort of salt and be able to mix with the water?

I'd be very surprised if they are currently allowed to add to the existing pollution - which is probably too expensive to remove.

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I worked at a canal side chemical works on the BCN many years ago. We decided to build a new production building, the first in decades. When the trenches were dug for the foundations we had ground creosote not ground water, a legacy of tar distillation going back to the 1800s.

 

I know of the phosphorous in the canal, not the place I worked.

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29 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

It is what helps keep our licence fees down! CaRT do quite a good business in both accepting and providing water supplies.

 

A bit doubtful with all the rain we have just had. https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a6dd42e3bc264fc28134c64c00db4a5b&extent=-401307.0872%2C6628364.5565%2C-130261.3849%2C6788576.5678%2C102100 

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3 hours ago, tree monkey said:

And quite a few buildings "on the piss" because of mine workings.

The whole area is riddled with chemical works and holes in the ground 

Useless information department. 

The Flashes on the T & M in this area were caused by collapsed mine workings.

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3 hours ago, tree monkey said:

Would the mercury settle in the sediment or would it escape as some sort of salt and be able to mix with the water?

Good question. I don't know. I guess if it as a salt, it would be likely mercury(I) chloride or mercury(II) chloride, given the large amount of chlorine ions from the brine in the cells. Wikipedia says that mercury(I) chloride, AKA calomel, is not very water soluble, but decomposes in UV light to mercury(II) chloride and metallic mercury. mercury(II) chloride is water soluble. So you might end up with both: mercury metal in the sediments and mercury dissolved in the water.

 

MP.

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

I'd be very surprised if they are currently allowed to add to the existing pollution - which is probably too expensive to remove.

Googling, the last mercury cell for chlorine production was suspended in 2015 and closed in 2016, ahead of an EU deadline in 2017.

 

Strange, I thought the EU just made useless regulations about bananas and vacuum cleaners?

 

MP.

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During my childhood in the 1960's I lived in Kings Norton near to the Stratford on Avon Canal. There was a chemical works (and still is) between the guillotine lock and the swing bridge (which has since been removed). Sometimes the water along that section was bright orange. Goodness knows what the chemical was that was causing it but it didn't seem to affect the wildlife.

 

Also. the river behind the factory had clear water but a permanent white bed. I think the factory made ingredients for toothpaste and presume that both these pollutants were harmless, but I doubt they'd get away with discharging it nowadays.

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We had one load on the Wyrley andd Essington in the 70s and all our chimey brass turned black overnight - that would be aiIr pollution, but I'd guess the water would be much the same.

 

Tam

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4 minutes ago, peterboat said:

Jen is there an issue in the river Hull? My mate John moors on there and I would hate his boat to dissolve 

Sorry Peter. It was a poor joke. The OP had capitalised the H in hull, so Hull corrosion could only happen on the river Hull. Your mates boat is probably OK!

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