leaked floecent ballast cleanup

Hello - I have a leaking ballast from an 8' 96T12 fluorescent fixture. Its an old fixture and an old ballast. 99% sure its not the PCB type. PCB leaks are more viscous than the tar leak I have (From what I have read) So lets not go down the PCB rat hole.
The tar dripped out over about a day or so with out being noticed. The tar dripped onto a concrete garage floor. I would like to clean it up. What I have tried so far with almost no success.
Dawn Cascade Texas Magic OxyClean WD-40 Denatured alcohol Regular unleaded gasoline K1 Kerosene
All of these were tried with a stainless steel bristled brush. Probably best was the gas and kero but I still have not made a noticeable dent.
Any suggestions?
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I would worry about a little stain on your garage floor unless you are tripping over it. Go fishing or something.
Craig

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cm wrote:

Ah but its a big stain. Almost 3 foot across of splatter with a 8 inch solid stain in the middle. But yes, I get your point. I'm replacing the ballast and cleaning best I can and then may just let it go. If there is a miracle cure then yes, I'll clean it. I'm not inclined to spend hours on it though. This is a workshop, not just a garage.
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No,
Well if ya don't want to go fishin here's what I would do if I felt inclined to clean anything off my garage floor. Soak and scrub with paint thinner or gas. Use lots of ventilation no pilot lights etc.... Then place absorbent or kitty litter over it to help draw out the gunk. You may have to repeat several times. I doubt all of it will come out.
For anyone concerned about: PCB's...... COME ON NOW!!!! Don't let it drip in your mouth and don't rub it on your skin. The fact that it already exists is too bad. Just take reasonable precautions. Anything beyond that is a waste of time and energy.
Craig

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No wrote:

If the ballast is not specifically labeled "No PCBs" that it in all probability contains PCBs. The "No PCBs" labeling has been required by law in the US since PCBs were banned. The EPA web site should have the appropriate references for the labeling laws.
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

The label has come off this ballast. Also, before PCBs were know to be an issue (1970s) no ballast was marked either way (Why would they?). Also, the PCBs were mostly used in high output type fixtures, these are not that. PCBs were in the more expensive fixtures, these were certainly not those. PCBs look like a clear or light colored oil when leaking. Mine is leaking a dark black tar.
So - Lets get back out the rat hole. It is very unlikely that PCBs are involved here.
Any suggestions on cleaning the tar?
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No wrote:

Auto bug and tar remover? MEK? Acetone? Mineral spirits? Other solvents?
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

Auto bug and tar remover? I have that, will try, unfortunately its not that great at removing bugs so we'll see.
MEK? Main ingredient in many paint strippers. I may have some, I'll check.
Acetone? I have that, may try it.
Mineral spirits? I'm all out, thats what I looked for before the gas and kero.
Other solvents? or live with it.
Thanks
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Live ewith it eventually it will fade.
You could try a pressure washer, GOO GONE, or mechanical abrasion, like a floor cleaning pad or paint stripper pad.
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Any solvent, particularly high volatile solvents will work, but it will take some time. Most solvents poured on the surface will have evaporated before they can work effectively. I would use a solvent possibly soaked in some sawdust to prevent it from running off then place a sheet of poly film over it to slow down evaporation. After 10 or 20 minutes lift the plastic and scrape or wire brush it up or add more solvent and repeat with the poly sheet until the tar starts to soften. Any that has soaked deep into the concrete may never come up, but give it a good try.

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If it really is tar (creosote) based, solvents at room temp will take forever. Heat it up with a torch and scrape what you can with a putty knife or razor blade. While still warm use a gasoline or napthalene soaked rag to wipe up as much as you can. In the end, some stain is bound to remain but you should be able to get up the gunk so that you can paint over it. Denatured Ethynol was a good try but you may have better luck with Methynol though I do think you need a petrolium based product in the end.
Overheating of the xformer would have liquified the creosote and allowed the leakage. You should be able to discern if it is creosote or epoxy or plastic based by the smell of it burning.
You might even be able to carbonize it by burning then it can be removed by abrasive and soapy means.
I had to depot a transformer once for failure analysis. We boiled in in a organic solvent (industrial solvent) for days and it still was not very clean but enough to start unwinding it.
Products from http://www.dynaloy.com/Products/other_industrial_products.html Dynasolve; take your pick of formulations for Epoxy, silicones, rubbers and plastics. These are fairly selective solvents and reasonably safe to use but they can be expensive. Might call them for advice on your material disaster.
Also don't forget the favorites TCE, Tolulene, MEK, napthalene (lighter fluid) etc.

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PipeDown wrote:

Did you mean something else when you said "naphthalene"?
Naphthalene is a specific chemical that is solid until its melting point of 80.22 degrees C, 176.4 degrees F. It is one of two chemicals widely used as a main ingredient of mothballs.
Did you mean "naphta"?

Epoxy does not liquefy from heat before carbonizing, and most plastics don't liquefy until getting ungodly hot (generally syrupy rather than fluid even at 400-500 degrees F!).

I would prefer a knife and/or a rag (or a few paper towels) with kerosene, diesel fuel, #2 fuel oil or (less preferred due to being actually "flammable" at normal room temperatures) lighter fluid.
<SNIP>
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Leakage unlikely involves PCBs (leakage is probably merely "transformer tar") but the ballast carcass likely has a capacitor that may be a PCB one or a non-PCB one. The issue becomes that of disposal of the ballast carcass rather than of cleanup of the tar drippage.

Lighter fluid, kerosene, diesel fuel, #2 fuel oil and paper towels.
Keep in mind that lighter fluid is flammable at most "room temperatures" while kerosene is supposed to not be flammable but merely combustible unless the liquid temperature is at least 100 degrees F. Diesel fuel and #2 fuel oil are a step up, probably not being spark-ignitable nor having vapors of flammable concentration unless the vapors come from liquid of surface temperature probably at least 110 degrees F. (Exception - when sprayed into a fine spray - flammable then!)
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Take a gray (cement) brick and start rubbing against the floor. Abrasive scrubbing will remove it. Or an angle grinder but the disk will probably gum up quickly.
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If the ballast states "NO PCBs" then I would just dump it into the trash.
Otherwise I would "store" it into the most remote / darkest corner or other spot in my basement until I catch onto some municipal campaign for catching "hazardous waste" from "homemakers" (my words alone for everything in this paragraph within quotation marks). Should you notice lack of any such campaigns by your municipality but notice such by a neighboring municipality, go there - maybe preferably by bike or foot! Beyond that, .015-.02 cubic foot of undisposable croaked fluorescent lamp ballast I see not being a serious waste of basement space nor any significant health hazard. Put it in a 1 quart chinese food takeout place "cup" if it continues to leak at room temperature - a mere 1/20 of a cubic foot plus any slightly more if the ballast has a length more than about 6 inches!
As for cleanup of tar splatter - I would suggest lighter fluid or better still (by normally not being spark ignitable and normally not having vapors of flammable concentration at or below 100 degrees F liquid temperature) kerosene or diesel oil or #2 fuel oil, with diesel and #2 at least usually non-flammable to at least 110 F liquid temperature.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Tue, 20 Jun 2006 15:46:50 +0200, No broke out their crayolas and scribbled:

Steam Iron and a roll of paper towels first. When Iron cools, clean with alcohol before the wife finds out.
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NEVER EVER point a propane torch at concrete.
IT WILL EXPLODE!
You can get hurt. My propane torch fell over during a plumbing project, it was amazing, pieces of concret exploded
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On Tue, 20 Jun 2006 19:07:51 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com broke out their crayolas and scribbled:

Please reread!
I was referring to a steam iron, as in ironing board and clothes iron.
Then learn to quote so quote doesn't have to be added, so thread can be followed. http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html
Install a newsreader and learn to configure it and find out what usenet really is. You'll enjoy it more, trust me. http://www.usenetmonster.com/infocenter/articles/usenet_history.asp
Get away from Google for posting. Google is really an archive of posts with a beta interface that is more confusing to use for posting to usenet.
Then read this: http://tgos.org/newbie/rules.html
Sit back and take your time before you post.
Adieu.
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My comments about heating concrete were for a earlier post. I tend to just add my comments to the very end of the thread.
Someone suggested carbonizing it:( that would require heat from something like a torch
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To dissolve the stain use kerosene or paint thinner. Soak a rag in it, place it on the stain, and cover with plastic (tape down the edges). Let it sit for a couple of hours.
If you have some kitty litter, spread a thin handful over the stain under the rag.
[Varsol/kerosene are straight petro products, nothing fancy, and they'll dissolve asphaltic tars. I'm suggesting varsol/kerosene because they're they're heavy enough to not evaporate too quickly, not quite so flammable as gasoline, lighter fluid etc, and will be faster working than something heavier like diesel]
If the concrete wasn't sealed, you may not be able to get very far - concrete is porous, and dissolving the tar might simply make it soak further in.
Even so, the paint thinner or kerosene may wick it out.
You have little to lose in experimentation.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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