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Solve grease deposits in sewers with ammonia

Saponification!
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Grease deposits clog sewers and cause overflows. It is a big problem; see links. How to prevent?

Ammonia is great against grease; it saponfies it, rendering it water soluble. Ammonia also happens to be a byproduct of wastewater disposal, which must be captured from the water before it is discharged. I propose that ammonia recaptured from wastewater be trucked back upstream and run into pipes with grease issues. The concentrated ammonia would dissolve grease on its way back to the treatment plant, which would deal both with the grease and with the ammonia. Plus this scheme uses two troublesome wastewater products to deal with each other.

bungston, Mar 23 2012

Greasy sewers in Atlanta http://www.ajc.com/...rit-in-1394359.html
[bungston, Mar 27 2012]

Video of greasy sewers in Ft Wayne http://www.youtube....watch?v=uy_QqLVtA6c
This is good - nothing but video of a sewer with great clumps of grease. I see little bugs living on them. Maybe those bugs hold the key... [bungston, Mar 27 2012]

A useful commodity http://en.wikipedia...istory_and_language
Ancient Romans used fermented human urine (in the form of lant) to cleanse grease stains from clothing. [8th of 7, Mar 27 2012]

Still useful http://www.google.c...earch?q=Serono+nuns
[mouseposture, Mar 29 2012]

[link]






       Perhaps best combined with an ordinance prohibiting the use of laundry bleach.
mouseposture, Mar 23 2012
  

       It'd be easier just to set the grease on fire... of course it'd be *much* easier if you filled the sewers with ammonia first.
FlyingToaster, Mar 23 2012
  

       I need you two to unpack these ideas.   

       1. Prohibit bleach? Does bleach make grease more tenacious? Or is this out of concern that the bleach would react with ammonia.   

       2. Set on fire - how does ammonia help with that. Burning it off is a decent idea but would be tricky. I am sure grease would burn hot once it got going and that would be tough on the pipes. But maybe you could control this by controlling air ingress and thus oxygen and burn rate.
bungston, Mar 23 2012
  

       Touch off grease fires in a methane-filled network of pipes that runs beneath an entire city... A network that has dozens, if not hundreds, of uncontrolled air inlets, and a massive supply of organic fuel... yeah...
Alterother, Mar 23 2012
  

       Another thought: people literally piss huge amounts of ammonia-laden liquid down the drain every day. Perhaps if more cats could be potty-trained...
Alterother, Mar 23 2012
  

       I suspect the 'prohibit bleach' is to prevent the abovementioned uncontrolled air inlets turning into uncontrolled chlorine gas outlets...
StarChaser, Mar 23 2012
  

       / huge amounts of ammonia-laden liquid / It is too dilute when it hits the grease. But they concentrate it at the wastewater plant. Bringing it back to the top and letting it thru at a time of low water flow could dissolve the grease.
bungston, Mar 23 2012
  

       / huge amounts of ammonia-laden liquid / Also, human urine contains not ammonia, but urea. Ammonia is released when urine decomposes anaerobically. Fish urine _does_ contain ammonia.
spidermother, Mar 23 2012
  

       Interesting. Goldfish-flushing takes on a whole new dimension.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012
  

       Exactly. Do they 'let it mellow'? How do they press the button with their fins? So many questions.
spidermother, Mar 23 2012
  

       //Ammonia is released when urine decomposes anaerobically// So just make sure every household has a waterless urinal that connects to an anerobic storage tank that only flushes on a weekly or so basis.
MechE, Mar 23 2012
  

       <H. S.>   

       "What a wonderful new smell you've discovered!"   

       </H. S.>
Alterother, Mar 23 2012
  

       Ammonia may not be listed as highly-explosive but people run engines on the stuff.
FlyingToaster, Mar 23 2012
  

       // Touch off grease fires in a methane-filled network of pipes that runs beneath an entire city... A network that has dozens, if not hundreds, of uncontrolled air inlets, and a massive supply of organic fuel... yeah... //   

       <Manic giggling and twitching>
8th of 7, Mar 23 2012
  

       [MechE] That would probably work; the defatting properties of stale urine were widely known (and used) in the middle ages, and probably earlier. It's now understood that ammonia is the active principle.
spidermother, Mar 23 2012
  

       Interesting stuff. I'd like to see the link but it will not open for me.   

       // in the middle ages, and probably earlier. //   

       In Roman cities, pottery vessels were placed on street corners for the collection of urine for use in the manufacture and cleaning of clothing. <link>
8th of 7, Mar 27 2012
  

       There are just not enough good uses for fermented pee anymore. [+]
shapu, Mar 29 2012
  

       //There are just not enough good uses for fermented pee anymore// <link>
mouseposture, Mar 29 2012
  
      
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