General Question

rock4ever's avatar

How can I sanitize clay?

Asked by rock4ever (1841 points ) July 29th, 2011

Out in the woods is a little river and at the bottom of it is a massive amount of clay. Me and my friend wanted to use the clay to make pots and pans, and possibly even a mini one room house. The only problem is, is that foster grants used that site as a hazardous chemical dumping ground. They dumped paint and whatever else down there. They contaminated the whole thing! I was wondering if anyone here knew of a way to decontaminate the clay? Would boiling it in water work?

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12 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I am a potter and would not use that clay for anything.
You can always buy clay that is made for functional ware or make your own.
Here is a little info
I hope you guys find a way to make things as it is an absolute blast! Good luck :)

NightStalker's avatar

Removed because @lucillelucillelucille said it all

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Hey just think how good you’ll be at making things with clay after growing a third arm from playing in the toxic waste. That third eye you’ll get might come in handy too!

rock4ever's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies haha lol!

So Ah they had about a half square mile of dumping grounds. How far would it travel beyond that sector?

CWOTUS's avatar

Clay is pretty much impermeable to water and water-borne contaminants. (That’s why it’s so often used to line the bottom of ‘designed’ municipal waste dumps.) Scrape off the top foot or so, take what you want and have that analyzed in a lab. I’m sure it will be fine.

rock4ever's avatar

@CWOTUS I think the others are going to maul you for that answer What if though the river itself was formed by foster grants dumpings?

pshizzle's avatar

You can always boil it. I don’t know if the hazardous chemicals will go away, though. You might have to do a little more research.

wtf's avatar

Think if it like those really questionable leftovers in the fridge. Is it worth the risk of getting sick over?

If there is one bed of clay local there are more. Go hunting outside of toxic dumps.

rock4ever's avatar

@wtf I always eat questionable leftovers! I get your point though.

Cruiser's avatar

Me thinks you are meesing with sludge…not clay!! My advice would be to steer very clear of any part of that find!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Boiling it will absolutely not decontaminate it. That might help if the contamination was organic in nature, but it won’t mystically remove heavy metals carried in the water. Clay is certainly NOT impermeable to water; clay and water interact in all sorts of ways – that’s one of the cool things about clay. Don’t risk your health or that of the people you would give your pottery to. Find another source.

NightStalker's avatar

@dappled_leaves I concur- Boiling or any other attempt at “decontamination” will not remove inorganic contaminants.

It is truly insane to risk your future health on free clay.

Seek clay in a place where it is not going to harm you.

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