darkroom drain/ septic system

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Terry Hayden, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. Terry Hayden

    Terry Hayden Member

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    Hello all,

    After a 20 year hiatus I'm finally building a new darkroom at home.

    The problem I face now is that I live in a well/septic area - no city services for water or sewer.

    I know that fixer is a no-no for the septic system, and that developer isn't exactly friendly to the local environment either.

    How do any of you in this situation handle wash water drainage? I can recycle the fixer at a local place, and dispose of the deveoloper ( diluted ) in the city sewer system from my office location.

    But what are the issues with wash water and safe runoff? Since my well is on my property I'd rather not just send the wash water out to trickle down into my water supply if it poses a hazard.

    Thanks for any input.

    Terry
     
  2. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hey Terry!

    We have septic, too. So far, I am keeping my used fixer & looking for a safe recycling method. I do dump my developer & stop bath.

    With the film developer, I mix it with around a gallon of water, and rinse that all down the drain with the water from the rinses between development & fix.

    With the paper chemicals, when I am done, I mix the developer, stop bath & the 2 1/2 gallons of water I used for my primary rinse. I dump that down the drain and follow it with the rinse water from cleaning the trays.

    We have sort of an advanced septic system that is required by law when your septic decides to take a holiday and not do its job. It's called a mound system. My joke here is that in a 1000 years, when archeologists find it, they are going to wonder what the heck we worshipped here! haha :D

    Our well is here, too, but with this mound system, there is little chance of contamination. I was told that the same is true of traditional septic systems...if we were concerned about contamination from the small amount of chemical that will get dumped, shouldn't we be more concerned about the 'normal' things that go in there?? haha
    You do not say what area of the country (this or another) you are in, so I am hoping that this will help anyway!
    Jeanette
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    for the amounts of chemicals you would be putting into your spetic system, there is no problem for any of them (except color chemistry) Actually if you put it into a seperate tank with all your rinse wanter and wash water, you would have a very good lawn fertilzer. Bruce Barnbaum told us how he stumbled on this, I have since tried it in my back yard, and it works beuatifully. As for the silver that is in the fix, there is such a minute amount as to not be a problem. If you do worry about it, get a silver recovery system. Some of the household cleaners you use are more harmful than the photo chems. They all go down the drain.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey terry

    i have a local waste hauler set me up with a 3o gallon tank. all my chemicals go in there - developer, fix and fix remover. my wash water i save in a large bin, and send through a "trickle tank" which gets me to my legal limit here where i live which is 1 pt / million. he takes the tank 1ce or 2wice a year depending on how much i print, and i get a check for 30-40$ for the silver he gets processed so it costs me maybe 10-20$ a "haul".

    i know lots of people dilute and dump ( actually lots of places suggest you just mix everything but the fixer together, so it neutralizes - since it is only the ph they worry about with non-fixer b&w photo-chemicals), but i'd rather my kids not play in a yard covered with develper/fixer &C, or have it end up in my vegtable garden, never mind my water supply.

    good luck sorting through all this stuff, i am sure you will get a lot of different suggestions :smile:

    -john
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's the Silver thats the problem why not stick wire wool in it and recover it. While not economic to recover the silver at least you can then put the desilvered fix into the septic tank at a very low cost.

    Maybe if you save enough of the spent wire wool you'll be able to buy a roll of the last Tmax off the production line
     
  6. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    darkroom drain

    the B+W chemicals are harmless to your septic, in fact there was an article in the mar. 2000 issue of photo tech. I would not dump selenium toner or any toner down your septic though, instead put the toner in a try or bucket and let the water evaperate and all thats left is the metal. Another Barnbuam idea.
     
  7. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I thought the big problem with selenium was when it was a powder and inhaling it. I would think that drying it out would be the last thing you would want to do. I have heard that you should just load all your junk prints into it for a day or so. This pulls all the selenium out and you can safely dump the rest.

    I personally only dump developer and used toner (processed as above) down the septic. The color chemicals and the fixer go to the local hazardous waste collection several times a year.