Darkroom water, grey water, black water

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by JOSarff, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. JOSarff

    JOSarff Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    At the risk of beating a dead horse I would like some advice.

    I am building a new home that will incorporate a grey/black water waste system.

    I have been using a septic tank for over 12 years with no problems, so my question is this: Would you classify the water from a final print washer (after selenium toning, rinse, PermaWash or KHCA and a rinse) as grey or black?

    I lean toward grey, GF leans toward black.

    Thoughts?


    Thanks in advance,

    Joe
     
  2. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd say that part of that answer has to do with what you plan to do with the gray water. Are you going to use gray water just for watering plants? Will it be used for flushing toilets only? Will it be recycled in another way?

    For irrigation, I see no problems. For flushing, maybe. For recycling, no.
     
  3. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks in advance,
    After about the first exchange of water, you could drink it. That's my opinion. I'd boil it and make a pot of iced tea in a New York minute with it. "Water pollution" has been turned into a fanatical religion in the last 45 years. I wouldn't drink it before the first exchange, but after that, there's just not much there. Besides, don't they make vitamin pills rich in "vital selenium"? And as far as I know, hypo is used in commercial food prep. You pour stop bath on your turnip greens, called vinegar.
     
  4. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,962
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    How about forward osmosis?
     
  5. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,981
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Look at the msds for toner and fixer. With the caveat that a lot depends on dilution (the amount of chemicals relative to the amount of other liquid in the system), I'd be leery of putting this in my septic tank and I wouldn't use it for any edible plant irrigation. Perhaps I'm being overcautious.

    I realize you've been using a septic tank for 12 years, but I would note that a septic system can fail biologically and you wouldn't know it unless your soil was tested. If there's 2 of you in the home and you're in the darkroom every evening, I would be concerned. If it's 4 and you're in there once a week, then maybe not.
     
  6. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,824
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When septic systems fail, the start clogging the septic field and the fluid starts backing up, and you will know it. At least, that is my understanding.
     
  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,981
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is a typical scenario when solids don't settle out in the tank. But most of the biologic action to "clean" the effluent actually takes place outside (past) the tank, in the drainfield. If chemicals you introduce interfere with that, you could contaminate the groundwater.

    If that were to happen, there might also be an impact in the tank itself (causing a backup as you note). But that might not happen for some time (as sludge builds up) and, depending on frequency of pumping out the tank, possibly never known. Meanwhile, you may not be effectively treating the effluent.

    I haven't been able to find definitive info on photo chemicals and septic tanks. Lots of discussion and anecdotal experience on APUG (and elsewhere), but little hard data. Kodak "does not recommend the use of septic systems for disposal of photographic processing", but years ago they said it was OK. Who knows whether it's driven by science, more concern about groundwater, or the lawyers?

    A lot of variables. If the OP is sending all his other "common" contaminants (bleach from washing machine and dishwasher, antibacterial soap) out as grey water, the impact of the photo chemicals may be less significant. But if his septic tank is small (reflecting the separate grey water system) there is less dilution.
     
  8. JOSarff

    JOSarff Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    The system is maintained properly and is biologicially active. The major problem in most home darkrooms/septic systems (and it has been discussed elsewhere) is the volume of wash water damaging the biological activity of the tank, not the chemicals. Putting 5 to 600 gallons of waste water from a household a month is not a problem, 200 gallons a day of wash water from the print washer is.
     
  9. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

    Messages:
    1,746
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Location:
    Elko, Nevada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is the big reason I do not cycle my processing water through my septic. I am less concerned with the chemical issues and more concerned with the waste water dilution issues. I have actually seen this happen with a large family that used their dishwasher and clothes washer a lot. For now I use my process water for irrigation.