Water conservation with FB papers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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Water conservation/print washing
I googled for a while, and found this :
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Originally Posted by Peter Schrager