Exam Study Guide: Water Treatment Safety

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When faced with a licensing exam, don't struggle with test anxiety! Use the question below and others from our Exam Study Guide series to study and prepare for exam questions. Take a look at this sample water treatment licensing question along with an explanation of the correct answer.

Sample question:

Why must an organic-based chemical (powdered activated carbon or PAC) be stored in a separate area away from potassium permanganate?

A. Both are dry chemicals that are very messy
B. Both are dangerous and dust protection is required
C. One is violently reactive with the other
D. SDS requires individual storage impoundments

One is violently reactive with the other. Any carbon-based dry chemical cannot be stored with an oxidizer, such as potassium permanganate. If both are mixed in dry form, they become combustible and a fire will ensue. This does not mean that either are considered hazardous chemicals as they are both commonly used in conventional water treatment facilities. However, neither should be stored next to the other.

Loose dust blended while simply sweeping the dust will be flammable. Carbon is flammable on its own and should be in its own environment simply because of the amount of hazardous dust the chemical generates. However, in any event, a dry carbon-based chemical or compound should never be stored with a highly reactive oxidizer.

​Therefore, the correct answer is C.

About the author
Mike Smith is program coordinator and lead faculty of the Water Quality Management program at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colo. He has been in charge of the multifaceted training program since 1996.


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