Water conservation with FB papers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by herb, May 8, 2008.

  1. herb

    herb Member

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    We are about to have a tiered water billing system imposed on us here, and I am thinking my archival washing of prints may have to have some re jiggering.

    Right now I am using permawash and about 15 minutes of washing twice, once before the permawash and once after.

    I occured to me that I might be able to use a tank of say 200 gallons, which would fit under my darkroom, which is a freestanding building, and get a small pump to recirculate the water. The question: is that reasonable or dumb?

    also, would one test the water to see fixer levels, or merely test prints?

    This sounds like a photo engineer question.
     
  2. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Test the prints.

    You could save the water from the rinses to flush toilets (dump a bucket full into the bowl) or water plants in the yard. I wouldn't water a vegitable garden with the stuff from the first rinse though.

    Instead of a continuous stream, consider a fill, soak and dump cycle with testing of the prints for residual hypo.
     
  3. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    There are reports of pure water being not as good for fibre paper washing as tap water that has some mineral content.

    In the archives of pure-silver of March 2005 you can find some comments about adding small amounts of sodium bicarbonate (0.3g/L) to wash water to accelerate washing. Not practical for flowing water probably, but for a series of trays quite feasible.

    http://www.freelists.org/archives/pure-silver/03-2005/
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Washing intermittently by using a small tank and agitating for a few minutes before changing it is more efficient by far than continuous flow washing. Studies have been done on this comparison. The reasoning goes as follows: suppose your wash tank holds 9x the volume of a piece of printing paper. After equilibrium has been reached, the water in the tank holds 9x as much of the solute as that in the paper. The next change of water reduces the amount in the paper to 1/9x1/9. after 4 changes, the aount remaining in the paper is about 1.5x10^-4. Ten time the volume of a piece of printing paper is a very small amount of water.

    I remember one article in Photo Techniques that presented experiments where this method of washing was compared with continuous flow, but I don't remember when it was. There have been others, I'm sure.
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    eco wash

    you could buy my cachet echo wash that I;m selling...very ecological washer...check it out in the classifieds and then check it on the Freestyle site...
    Best, Peter
     
  6. herb

    herb Member

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    Water conservation/print washing

    I googled for a while, and found this :
    http://www.versalab.com/server/photo/products/vestlrevw.htm

    I happen to have one of the versalab washers, and he says run it 1/2gpm for an hour and let the prints sit in it for a few hours and run it again for an hour. this will use 60 gallons of water, not counting the 11 gallons to fill the washer.

    sounds like I had the solution all along, just need to lower the flow to 1/2gpm.
     
  7. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I got a 16x20 zone 6 archival washer last year and was very annoyed that it didn't have a drain plug. But now it has become a big improvement in my system. I sometimes print fiber all day long and I will rinse the prints in a tray for a short while then put them directly into the washer where they accumulate. A few times a day I will turn the water on enough to completely exchange the water in the tank and then turn the water off and let them sit. At the end of the printing session I will refreshen the water again and then a couple more times in the evening and several hours later I will take them out. One thing is that usually my fiber prints float and as I understand it the hypo is heavier and sinks. As there is quite a volume of water below the level of the prints I think the prints must be sitting in relatively clean water many hours with out near the volume of continually running water.
     
  8. herb

    herb Member

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    water conservation

    I think the versalab and the Zone VI are similar, No?

    The versalab has a bottom drain, but normally runs over the top siphon, which buzzes at you when it is doing the right thing.
     
  9. jfish

    jfish Member

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    First, you are washing 200% more time (10 minutes) than you need on each side of the Perma Wash step. You only wash for 5 minutes before and after, not 15. So that cuts your usage dramatically. Secondly, the Diffusion Method is very practical and indeed was recommended by Agfa at one time. It is basically having a decent amount of water and letting the prints just sit there for some period of time. BTW, the 200 gallon under the sink idea seems a little excessive, especially considering the construction needed to hold that much water safely. Using a full tray of water and draining the prints very well before putting them in there (I have a plexi-glass sheet leaning against the wall behind my fixer tray (it's good for viewing too) and leave it there, with the lowest corner just on the inside of the tray lip, allowing the fixer to run back in the tray. I leave a print there for about 5 minutes then in the first diffusion water tray), that stage would be your pre-perma wash step. Then immerse in the Perma wash for 5 minutes and a final wash of 5 minutes. Having an archival print washer would also be the best for the final stage.

    Personally I think Zone VI's is the best, after studying all the types out there and understanding just how the water exits from it, sold me on them. I own a 20x24 and a 16x20 (which I would consider selling...and it has a drain plug, the type used in boats...simple $4.50 fix...a FYI for dpurdy).

    HTH,
    jfish
     
  10. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    Definitely worth a look. I had the pleasure of watching Ike Royer (who runs Cachet, or at least ran it) do a demo of the Eco-Wash one day at Freestyle a couple of years ago and the water savings is remarkable. I think this would be a great tool for people in drought-stricken states like Florida & Georgia, among other places.
     
  11. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Worst case, one 11x14 print at a time, that 60 gallons would
    do me 80 11x14s. Three 11x14s at a time and that 60 gallons
    would do me 120 11x14s. And no 11 gallon overhead.

    My method employs an alternate two tray cycle with
    separators; something of a horizontal slot washer. Less
    than 2 gallons will wash 4 11x14s. That's 4 minutes at
    1/2 gallon per minute; one 11x4 print per minute at
    that 1/2 gallon per minute. Dan
     
  12. CBG

    CBG Member

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    I have read a couple of times recently that very long soak times are deleterious to printing paper. In a quick search I couldn't turn up any original research, but I had saved some commentary from Richard Knoppow who seems to be well versed in source data. According to Richard Knoppow, "Long soaks tend to cause separation of the emulsion and Baryta layer from the paper support and can damage the paper itself."

    C
     
  13. DJGainer

    DJGainer Member

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    I believe the theory is that the constant running of the water during the cycle is unnecessary. Diffusion will permit the fixer to leave the paper. You still was for the same time, but change the water once, maybe twice instead of having the constant flow.
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Intermittent replacement of the wash water with fresh water can, and in fact should, result in shorter wash times than continuous flow for the same final hypo content of the paper.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Long soaks present NO problems. I've been using Slavich,
    Kentmere Bromide, Emaks, and Arista Classic; all Glossy,
    DW FB. The last soak I give is overnight and well into
    the next day, minimum 12 plus hours. NO problems.

    Also, although I do not now use, are Forte Polywarmtone
    and Kentmere Fineprint. NO problems. Dan
     
  16. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Agree with Dan above...I recently had to leave prints on Ilford FB glossy soaking for over 48 hours due to a family crisis. I was careful to squeegee them gently and they were perfect...no problems at all.
     
  17. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    The best information on this subject can be found in the writings of David Vestal. Why? Because he actually tested various methods.

    The Vestal technique I use is to put the prints into a plain water holding bath following the fix. After I am done printing, I transfer them to a tray of plain water while I dump the printing chemicals, rinse the trays, and prepare for washing. I set up a tray of hypoclear and a tray of dilute selenium toner. I transfer the prints to the hypoclear and let them soak with occasional agitation for about three minutes. Then I transfer them to the selenium. After about five minutes, with occasional agitation, I move them back to the hypoclear while I put the selenium away and rinse that tray. Then I move the prints to a tray of fresh water, agitate briefly, and then let them soak for about five minutes. Then to another tray of fresh water for another five minute soak. After six trays of fresh water, I squeegee them off and lay them out to dry on fiberglass screens.

    Total water usage, including the holding bath and hypoclear, is about 18 quarts! Total time is 30-45 minutes.

    Vestal also did a test where he used an "archival washer" for a short period, and then let the prints soak overnight before a second brief time in the archival washer. He found that this was just as effective as a long time in the archival washer but obviously used much less water.

    There are two issues with prolonged soaking. RC papers consist of a thin layer of paper covered on both sides with plastic. The recommended processing cycle is so brief that water is unable to penetrate very far into the actual paper layer. But if the paper soaks too long, the paper layer will become contaminated with residual chemicals in the soaking bath leading to premature failure of the paper.

    The other issue is that some papers contain optical brighteners to liven up the highlights. Prolonged soaking can remove these brighteners leading to less dramatic prints. I might add that the better papers do not include artificial brighteners, so this problem tends to be associated with less expensive papers.
     
  18. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    The emulsion on Kentmere's Kentona will sometimes come right off the paper if you soak it overnight. Don't get me wrong, emulsion lifts are fun, but only with Polaroid...
     
  19. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    While not a direct answer to your photography needs, you might also investigate water saving methods for your other uses of it. Collecting rain water from the roof comes to mind. Also recycling wash (gray) water from the laundry.

    I have a relative that has a small stainless tank that looks like it came off a small milk tank truck, maybe a thousand gallons; he collects and recycles water in it.

    Anyhow, just a thought.