Just wondering if you fitted a cold water tank overflow pipe into a car park at the height of a car exhaust , if the carbon monoxide fumes went back up the oveflow pipe into the tank would this contaminate the water?


Contamination would occur if a sufficient quantity of carbon monoxide wouldn't just bubble through but

  1. would react with water to form an unhealthy product or
  2. is dissolved in water

Both isn't really true:

  1. $\ce{CO}$ does not react under these conditions.
  2. The solubility of $\ce{CO}$ in water at 20 °C is as low as $\mathrm{30\,mg\cdot L^{-1}}$ (GESTATIS database)
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  • $\begingroup$ Therefore a small amount of CO in the air gap above the water would really be seen as sufficient to penetrate the water surface ? $\endgroup$ – Dan G Apr 2 '15 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, my laziness and a stupid cold keep me from doing any calculations on that. But I'd probably drink from the water and wouldn't worry about it. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Apr 2 '15 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ For comparison, the allowable maximum for benzene is 0.005 mg/l, so soluability of 30 mg/l doesn't mean no effect. This guide says there is no data on CO in drinking water. $\endgroup$ – Ross Millikan Apr 2 '15 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ @DanG Then this is a question about safety of an actual procedure. You should be consulting an expert with appropriate training and certification, not random strangers on the internet. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 2 '15 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ @DanG I'd be more concerned about the other components in exhaust fumes which may contaminate the water, heavy metals for a start. $\endgroup$ – Phizes Apr 2 '15 at 21:41

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