While finishing garage floor (question about the acid for etching)

Hi all, I am about to do the epoxy finish on my garage floor, and I have a question about the acid used during the etching process. Basically, my dilemma is this: About 15-20 feet from the bottom of my driveway, there is a 8-12ft diameter perpetual puddle that is consistenly fed by rain and all of my neighbors' sprinkler runoff. This puddle is used by the local wildlife (birds, etc) all the time. This puddle is also where my runoff will go when I rinse the acid from the floor after etching. Now, I'm not interested in killing/harming/whatever all of the animals that use this puddle, so my question is this: is the acid nuetralized or anything after the use on the garage floor, or would it still be toxic? My thought would be to use a push broom/squeegee to get this puddle moving and the area rinsed after acid exposure if I have to.
Any input would be appreciated (particularly if you are a chemist! ;p)
Thanks!
Bill Lewis
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to do that, dump in a bunch of boxes of baking soda.
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It's only a guess (an intelligent one, I hope; I wouldn't call myself a chemist, although I've studied a fair bit of chemistry in my time and have worked in laboratories), but I would say that by the time the acid is done with the garage floor it's no longer going to be acidic -- but that's no guarantee that the products of the chemical reaction won't harm the wildlife.
By far the safest would be to get the stuff out of that local watering hole as soon as possible.
MB
On 09/17/04 12:31 pm Bill Lewis put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 12:52:07 -0400, Minnie Bannister

won't the final product be salt?

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On 09/17/04 06:52 pm snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

I *think* cement is more calcium compound than sodium compound, but who knows what other stuff is in there as well? So the resulting "soup" of chlorides could well include some nasty ones.
MB
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That's what I would do as well Bill. Throw a box or two of Baking Soda on the area after you sweep the puddle out to neutralize the acid if you want. Baking Soda is a base and it will neutralize the acid. Water is neutral itself (neither acid nor base) and it can be used to neutralize the acid but it will take more of a flush with just water than if you throw a little baking soda to it. I'd sprinkle a box or two on the swept out puddle, sweep it around a bit and then flush it well with water. Should be fine after that.
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-Mike-
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The acid you use for etching cement is probably HCl, which ought to react with the cement to produce mostly calcium cloride (a salt) and free hydrogen. Nuetralizing the excess using backing soda, (sodium bicarbonate) should produce sodium cloride, (table salt) more calcium cloride, and some free gasses.
The runoff will be salty water.
You might get high enough concentrations so to make it unpalatable to wildlife, but you're unlikely to actually harm anything that doesn't LIVE in the puddle. If you've got frogs in there, you might get high enough concentrations to croak them.
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On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 13:12:31 -0400, someone wrote:

first, and let the acid wash run into it (far away from where on is standing)? I'd generally not want to stand there and pour a base into an acid without a protective suit, but OK maybe its so dilute that its just a theory, but as a general principal....
-v.
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A little off topic, but kind of similar...
If your garage floor has some old oil stains (from the previous owner's car), will this epoxy treatment still work? I've been wanting to do this as well, but I fear the oil will cause a big mess by not allowing the epoxy to adhere correctly.
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You'll need to clean up the old oil before you epoxy the floor. Try some lacquer thinner, paint thinner or like solvent and wipe it up. Don't just pour some on and let it evaporate. You might have to hit it a couple or a few times, but you should get it clean that way. Use an old toothbrush to get it good and clean. After that you should be able to hit it with the acid and paint to your heart's content. You might see residual stains after you clean it up but if you washed the area well with solvents, the stains (discoloration) should not pose a problem.
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-Mike-
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Isn't it muriatic acid that is typically used to prep the floor? I believe Rustoleum uses a bit milder acid by using a citric solution. What does the manufacturer suggest to clean the acid from the floor prior to painting? The acid has to be gone for the paint to stick. Seems like the same procedure would work in the puddle.
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Amish Biker
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Hi Bill, I used muratic acid, which is also what's used in swimming pools. Diluted, it wouldn't be a problem. When I did mine, I just cleaned the concrete well and mopped on the muratic acid after it was dry. I only put on enough to wet it and let it dry. I never rinsed it. The paint has held up about as good as the job I did painting it. I'm just wondering if you need to put on enough to produce enough to have to squeegee it. Sorry to attempt to answer your question with another question. Jana
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