bad gasses in the laboratory
Monday, June 4 2018
My laboratory urinal hasn't worked for several months, indicating it had been jammed with urea sludge. Normally I fix such a problem within weeks of becoming aware of it, but, owing to my recent level of busyness, I've mostly been pissing in a can and throwing the urine off the deck (which is pretty easy to do in warm weather). Today, though, I finally got around to unclogging the urinal (as well as burying the overflowing bucket of urine-cum-pine needles in the garden). Normally I do this by dumping in some Liquid Plumr and hoping for the best. As it normally does, this caused the stale urine in the trap to start foaming and producing an acrid gas (possibly chlorine, since dumping sodium hypochlorite on urea sludge is a little like mixing bleach and ammonia), but this didn't unclog the system. So then I placed my "urinal pressurizer" attachment onto the urinal funnel and hooked it up to the laboratory air compressor. But this didn't work either. I'd pressurize the system as much as I could (while holding the pressurizer as best I could with my hands), but when the pressurizer attachment popped off, the gas in the funnel would turn white in a flash (that was interesting), but the system refused to drain. Then I started feeling a little odd, like the gas being generated was affecting me. This concerned me, so I grabbed my laptop and attended my next meeting in the remote workplace from the greenhouse.
Meanwhile, the day was damp and unseasonably cold, not rising into the 60s until the afternoon.
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