To get rid of a rusty, filled propane tank

Mar 20, 2014
16
Hunter 29.5 Mandeville
The propane tank locker on my new used boat contains a rusty, but movable 5-lb tank made in 1993 (see attached photo). Regrettably it is still partly full of product. I know zip about propane, but common sense tells me to get this bottle off my boat and safely disposed of. Q1: What's the best way to dispose of a rusty, filled propane tank? Q2: If it cannot be discarded until it is emptied, what is the safest and least hassle way to empty it?
 

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Nov 9, 2012
2,499
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
Can't you just take it to a Home Depot or Lowes or whatever and exchange it for a full Blue Rhino tank? Then Blue Rhino takes it and either cleans it up or disposes of it...
 
Jan 27, 2008
3,008
ODay 35 Beaufort, NC
Connect it to a barbecue grill and use it up. No tank is ever truly empty, they just get empty until the vapor pressure is too low to run your appliance, there will always be some gas left in the tank so it is always a safety hazard. You could also see if the is an industrial gas supplier in your area that supplies welding gases and such and likely can help dispose of a pressure vessel. Pressurized gas bottles under DOT regulations need to be hydrostatically tested every five years or so to make sure they are structurally sound. The Blue Rhino method might work too.
 
Nov 6, 2006
9,245
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
That looks like a little 1 gallon Worthington cylinder. Even the girl at Albertson's will notice the difference? I don't know if that locker can handle a normal gas grill cylinder.
If the rust is not coming off in chunks or slabs, you are probably OK.. make sure that the locker gasket seals correctly and the drain is free, open, and above water.
If ya want to dispose of it, these guys may have a local company that'll do it for you. They may be able to look at it and help you to decide if it neeeds to be disposed of.
Lacox, Inc.
Contact: Jerry McCain
2021 Hwy. 190 Bypass
Covington, LA 70433
Phone: (985) 892-0297
800-222-0044
Fax: (985)871-9741
E-mail: jmccain@lamptonlove.com
 
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Apr 1, 2004
114
Catalina 34 Herring Bay Chesapeake, MD
Your tank is pre 1998 before OPD valves were required to allow for refilling. The rectangular handle shows that regardless of knowing the year. Post 98 handles are round. Because of cost and condition refitting with the new valve is probable not cost efficient if doable at all due to its size. Best to use on a gas BBQ if available or see if an actual propane depot will take the tank.

I had one with this valve and condition when I purchased my Catalina back in 06. I had a proper propane locker so I continued to use the remaining gas and replaced with a new OPD cylinder when empty.

Your boat your choice,

Enjoy,

SC
 

Gunni

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Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
That tank has an OPD installed, you can tell by the valve knob (sorry Steve, the round knobs were the old pre-OPD) If the tank is stamped 1993 that means that this tank was retro-fitted OPD. If you look carefully you will probably also see a re-cert date stamp too. In any case I wouldn't worry about it, superficial rust is no big deal, take a wire brush to it and give it a coat of primer paint. But I would plan to replace it, because steel tanks look like this after a couple of years in the marine environment. Put a composite or aluminum tank on your wish list and start saving - they are expensive.
 
Apr 9, 2014
4
ODay 192 Tampa
You can always just open it up outside to vent away the propane. I purchased a 100 pound tank for a house and they had to purge it - filled it and dumped it into an open pipe to keep it from accumulating at ground level.
The tank is a steel tank, I've seen piles of them at recycling centers, just to get rid of it.
 
Apr 1, 2004
114
Catalina 34 Herring Bay Chesapeake, MD
That tank has an OPD installed, you can tell by the valve knob (sorry Steve, the round knobs were the old pre-OPD) If the tank is stamped 1993 that means that this tank was retro-fitted OPD. If you look carefully you will probably also see a re-cert date stamp too. In any case I wouldn't worry about it, superficial rust is no big deal, take a wire brush to it and give it a coat of primer paint. But I would plan to replace it, because steel tanks look like this after a couple of years in the marine environment. Put a composite or aluminum tank on your wish list and start saving - they are expensive.
Guni,

That's for keeping me honest.

SC
 
Jan 22, 2008
8,050
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
.... The rectangular handle shows that regardless of knowing the year. Post 98 handles are round. ...I had one with this valve and condition when I purchased my Catalina back in 06. ...SC
Steve, my 2006 B323 has that handle, so it's not an oldie. My slip neighbor has a C30, and his 5-pounder was the devil to get an OPD valve for. Finally did, though.
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,584
Catalina 320 Dana Point
Close the lid.
IF you EVER use all the gas you can take it to a refiller who will let you know if it has been hydrostatic tested recently.
 
May 24, 2004
6,838
CC 30 South Florida
Yes that is a smaller tank than the 20 lb units used for patio grills. The tank does not look bad at all and unless it is deeply pitted by rust in certain places or dented chances are it is fine to use. A little paint may make it look like new. The smaller tanks are hardly offered for exchange and filling them is usually costlier as you usually have to pay for the 20# charge. The danger of a badly rusted tank is that it may develop a leak and not that it will blow up like a grenade. I can see you have the tank in a sealed locker and I presume that locker has a low vent that drains to the outside of the hull above the waterline. That is your protection against a tank leak. If you still want to get rid of it just take it down to a filling station and let them know you want to dispose of it.
 

DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
2,192
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
If you simply want to dispose of the tank, what's wrong with taking it to a propane dealer? they usually have yards full of old tanks anyway.
 

weinie

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Sep 6, 2010
1,297
Jeanneau 349 port washington, ny
Tanks and cylinders (like co2 tanks for soda fountain machines) are almost impossible to dispose of. Most dumps, recyclers, scrap, or carting compaines won't touch them.
 
Mar 20, 2014
16
Hunter 29.5 Mandeville
Many thanks to you all for your helpful advice. Yes, it is one of the 9 x 12 inch 1 gallon bottles. I've yet to see one that size in aluminum.

To summarize, it sounds like it should be safe for me to just use this bottle until empty and then give to a local propane dealer. Cleaning, priming, and repainting to continue its use is also an option, but I'll probably err on the conservative side and go with a new one. Kloudie1: I greatly appreciate the lead on a possible discard place in St Tammany Parish (BTW, I'm just a few slips up from you).

Thanks also to Steve Dion and Justsomeguy for the more pyrotechnic suggestions, which reminded me of my intro to the M16 at Fort Polk during the Vietnam War. A drill sergeant tossed an ammo can a yard or two down range and then shredded it with a 20-round clip of mixed ball and tracer. Quite a light show, if a wee bit hard on the rifle barrel.
 
Nov 6, 2006
9,245
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Chitradurga.. Cool.. We'll have to sit and have a beverage one day. Are yall the nice folks from Illinois?
 
Mar 20, 2014
16
Hunter 29.5 Mandeville
Kloudie1: Sounds good, and, yep, east-central Illinois, a scenic landscape that a Russian visitor once described to me as "just like Siberia." I like to think he meant it as a compliment.