Ammonia, like soda ash, is not a prime neutralizing reagent. It is about twice as expensive as lime, and is the most toxic of all the alkaline neutralization reagents discussed, having a toxic hazard rating of 3 in all three acute local categories, i.e., irritant, ingestion, and inhalation, and U in the acute systemic category. Table 7.39.7 outlines these toxic hazard rating codes.

Ammonia is widely used in the petroleum industry where it is added to crude oil to neutralize acid constituents. The most serious deterrent for ammonia use is that it produces ammonium salts that supply nutrients (nitrogen) for algal growth.

The most important alkaline reagents are lime and sodium hydroxide. The choice between them depends largely on the economics of the total neutralization or treatment facility. When large volumes of waste are treated, requiring large amounts of reagents, wastewater treatment facilities chose lime because the cost is a significant portion of the total treatment cost. Since lime usually requires a substantial investment in slakers, tanks, pumps, and additional agitators, the small wastewater treatment facility can not afford such equipment, and a single tank filled (on a scheduled basis) with caustic solution by a local chemical supplier is the logical selection.

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