Does fixer and hypoclear hurt soil/plants?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Klainmeister, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    The reason why I ask is because I am building a print washer this weekend and was thinking of having the outflow into parts of my garden. Water is tight--as always--here in the high desert and I hate to be wasteful.
     
  2. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    As i understand it, the fixer is relatively harmless... In fact the preserver you can buy from florists to keep your bouquet of flowers longer is a similar compound to fixer(not sure of exact make up).The likely biggest problem, is the silver and whether it would contaminate your yard....
     
  3. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Only their feelings.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    klainmeister

    you are going to hear all sorts of opinions in this seemingly benign thread :whistling:
    as andy m said, your fixer and wash water have silver in them, and depending on where you live
    it might or might not be allowed to dump your effluence / black+white processing tailings in your garden.

    some will say its harmless ( as they always do ) some will even say your spent toners are harmless ( they always do )
    and others will suggest none of it is ... the best thing to do is check with your local town / city hall to find out what is and isn't allowed, cause it will seep into your groundwater and could pose a potential problem down the road ..

    IF you are permitted to pour de-silvered fixer and wash water ( if your municipality allows it )
    there are ways to remove most if not all of the silver from your tailings.
    you will have to determine what is or isn't permitted in your area, do a water test and figure it out from there ...

    good luck !
    john
     
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  5. ROL

    ROL Member

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    ...and some are selling silver recovery devices. No disagreement, just sayin'.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Sodium Thiosulfate is relatively harmless as are Sodium Sulfite and Ammonium Thiosulfate. These are used in swimming pools to adjust chlorine level. Ammonium salts are fertilizers. Alum is quite harmless. It is used to pickle vegetables. The pH of the solution is sometimes a problem as it will either raise or lower your soil pH.

    The real problem is related to the Silver salts in the water. Silver is often banned from effluents, or at least controlled.

    Any photographic solution, dumped as-is is harmful to plants. It must be diluted by quite a bit to be harmless. Concentrated solutions are always bad for plants.

    PE
     
  7. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    If I were doing such a setup, I'd say yes, put the outflow from the print washer into the garden. But before placing a print into the washer, do a quick dunk into a pre-rinse tray filled with water. It will take most of the chemicals from the surface of the print and the washer will deal with just trace amount. At that point all the chemicals - beneficial or harmful - will be diluted sufficiently to not affect the plants one way or the other. However, it's just my barely educated opinion, please take it as such.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi ROL

    i have been here since 2003 and there have been countless people
    who have said that spent, silver-rich fixer and washwater are harmless,
    and selenium and other toners are harmless and they should all be poured in one's gardens
    or shrubs or down the drain or ...


    i mainly suggested that he / she should find out what is allowed and not allowed where he or she lives
    before taking the opinion of someone on a website ( who may or may not have a clue ) as the solution to his problem.
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The silver in the fix is an anti-microbial and a heavy metal.
     
  10. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Sorry if I made some confusion, I was strictly talking about the wash water. All other chemistry gets recycled at my local lab. There is so much water used with 20x24 fiber that it seems wasteful.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I see no issue with the wash water, I do avoid using it on root crops like carrots and leafy stuff like lettuce but for trees, shrubs, flowers rock-n-roll.
     
  12. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Well I like the idea of maybe using a de-ionizing system on the residual water....maybe some sort of filtration to pull any silver, but otherwise it sounds like the dilution and chemistry involved should be OK for my cottonwood and other shrubbery.

    Sorry for stirring up such a bee's nest! I don't like polluting nor being wasteful either, so sometimes analog photography has it's hypocrisies built in.

    ...now time to pour that dichromate solution on my neighbors tomato plants... :wink:
     
  13. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Just to play devil's advocate... it's wash water for a reason and the reason is that it is still washing chemicals out of the paper. At what point they become "trace" I'm not sure. I also worry about this since we are on a septic system at my house. So far, I use RC paper, processed one at a time and the first rinse is for > 1 minute and vigorous and goes into jugs for disposal. After that I rinse them in the sink and let it go into the septic. This topic has come up before and I still plan to do some testing for residual silver to attempt to make these sorts of processing decisions based on some real evidence rather than "what someone on the internet says"....

    I have a large vegetable garden and I don't think I'd let photo chems go into that at any concentration.
     
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  15. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well silver isn't a heavy metal, it is a noble metal. Metallic silver is rather benign, after all people have been using silver for cutlery for hundreds of years with beneficial effects, as silver is an excellent bactericide. It is incorporated into bandages for protecting ulcerated sores on people.

    Silver salts can be another story.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    As noted earlier, Silver metal and Silver salts are bacteriostats. As such, they kill bacteria. Good soil needs bacteria, for better or worse. Kill bacteria and some things cannot grow or live.

    Silver can be considered a heavy metal from several standpoints.

    PE
     
  17. boswald

    boswald Member

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    I used to have a bulletin on just this subject. If i recall correctly they showed the math to figure out concentrations and quantities, but ended by saying call your ag. dept.& they will give you to a local person who will help you, but Kodak said even if allowed you should water ornamentals, not crops- just to be safe. I have some old bulletins somewhere in a box. I'll look for them. Steel wool will remove any silver if you're worried about it, just run it into a plastic trash can as a holding tank and water stuff the next day. Put the drain a hand's width from the bottom, and when the steel wool is gone drain and dry the sludge. When you have an ounce or more send it to a refiner, and get money for film.
     
  18. jk0592

    jk0592 Member

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    Kodak publication j300 provides good advice on environmental issues for amateur photographers.
     
  19. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    This is what I had in mind. Creating another tank to release the water into filled with steel wool, and out the other side.
     
  20. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  22. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    For some reason the shortened URL seems to have problems..

    The link is:

    "...www.kodak.com/ek/uploadedFiles/Content/About_Kodak/Global_Sustainability/Health,_Safety_and_Environment/Publications_Library/J212ENG-0311.pdf..."

    Copy and paste the URL between the two "... character strings into your browser and let me know if it works for you.


    You can also try: http://bit.ly/RNL0As
     
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  23. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    This is very important. Healthy populations of soil bacteria are necessary for healthy plants.
     
  24. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Yes, and that's why I asked the question originally. It wasn't so much the chemistry, I was curious about the dilution/volume. I don't plant on printing too much that large, but I figured since I'll be using significantly more water, if there was a better procedure for disposal--like watering my drought stricken plants.
     
  25. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  26. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Wow. Besides the film, I have this very sinking feeling that we are all going to miss Kodak a lot if all this information disappears. I am absolutely stunned when I review the amount of information that was provided by Kodak on just about anything related to photography. I certainly hope this is all backed up somewhere if Kodak does go away. I have accumulated a lot of Kodak information in the past few years but the sheer amount of what is available is astounding.
     
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