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  1. #11
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Even Kodak publication J-300 which is the de facto last word on "fixer down the drain" is more about avoiding potential disputes and less about the niceties of chemistry.
    That's my take as well, based on personal experience. I simply posted the link for reference.

    I have had a small, but nicely equipped, home darkroom in the same location now for 24 years. It's on a septic system originally installed in 1978. Using standard black-and-white processing chemicals that all eventually go down the drain, I have never had a single issue in almost a quarter-century of light hobbyist-level usage.

    I do suppose YMMV, but mine never has.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  2. #12

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    Additives like yeast will do no harm but are entirely unnecessary for a healthy septic system.

    Even if the used fixer becomes harmless once dumped, its irresponsible to dump non-renewable, recoverable resources such as silver down the drain. Much better to recover the silver or donate used fixer to a photo lab who will recover it.

  3. #13
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Even if the used fixer becomes harmless once dumped, its irresponsible to dump non-renewable, recoverable resources such as silver down the drain. Much better to recover the silver or donate used fixer to a photo lab who will recover it.
    Where do you think the silver came from in the first place?

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  4. #14

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    The silver came from mines, like the one they are trying to build in my backyard to bring more out of the ground. Why, do you think it came from septic field deposits, and that those are some sort of mineable resource? You seem to be implying that wasting silver is just a natural process, and that's a pretty thin tightrope to walk.

  5. #15
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    I wouldn't see how any filter would work. Filters filter particulates. The chemistry is in solution. Besides, the standard developers and fixers are for the large part biodegradeable. And stop bath is about the same as vinegar. I have a septic tank too. I wouldn't worry, unless you're going into production or commercial.
    Typically selective means that not (only) work mechanically but chemically as ion-exchangers and activated carbon are called filters too.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jk0592 View Post
    Get a copy of Kodak publication J-300, "Environmental Guidelines for Amateur Photographers". You will find the answers that you are looking for.


    this publication is 20+ years old
    kodak has recanted on their stance and says in a newer publication
    not to dump any fix &c down the drain.

    it is best to lrern what is and is not allowed where you live
    so you don't foul your waste system.
    if you are interested in removing the Ag from your fix feel free to contact me
    i Will be happy to help you with an affordable recoverysystem.

    have fun
    john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  7. #17
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    The silver came from mines, like the one they are trying to build in my backyard to bring more out of the ground. Why, do you think it came from septic field deposits, and that those are some sort of mineable resource? You seem to be implying that wasting silver is just a natural process, and that's a pretty thin tightrope to walk.
    Saying that silver, or any other mineral resource, came from a mine is akin to saying that steaks come from grocery stores. They do, but only in the most superficial and misleading sense.

    Your silver was not created by the mine. It was likely created hundreds of thousands of years or more before modern humans even existed, possibly as part of a hydrothermal depositional sequence of related elements and compounds. Depending on your local geology this could have occurred as super-heated, mineral-laden fluids rose up under natural pressure through cracks in the earth caused by tectonic activity. As those fluids cooled they precipitated out into various mineral suites within those cracks, which we call veins, some of which included silver and/or silver compounds. Gold is often also part of that particular sequence.

    It's possible that the silver in your backyard has been there since before mankind ever evolved as a viable species. Mining is the process by which that element is concentrated to a useful level for our needs and purposes. Once our purpose is served, that silver will be returned to the earth's structure from whence it originally came, to again lie quietly while awaiting its future fate.

    The concept of waste is a human economic one. It's not a natural process. Waste is the economic process whereby the cost to concentrate (mine) a resource exceeds the value derived from the subsequent use of that concentrate to generate value. If you pay $100 to concentrate an ounce of silver, but can subsequently only generate $50 in value from use of that concentrated silver, you have "wasted" $50 of your original value. That may be an important distinction to you, but it's not a distinction at all to Nature.

    But the silver atoms themselves are unaffected. Whether they exist in their originally precipitated deposit in the earth, or are hanging on your wall as a photographic print, or have been re-deposited back into the earth in your leech field as harmless silver sulfide, or were more likely pumped from your septic tank and transported and re-deposited back into the earth somewhere else, makes little difference. They have not been lost. They have not been wasted. They have not been transmuted into another element. They still exist, and could again be recovered from leech fields if the future economics to do so made sense.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  8. #18

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    That took a whole lot of words to state the extremely obvious Ken. Silver comes from the earth, not mines or jewelry stores, how true. I think I remember something about that in my undergraduate work in geology.

    You keyed in on the wrong word, you should have paid more attention to "irresponsible" instead of "waste". A lot of fuel, energy and most likely pollution and its cleanup paid by taxpayers (if cleaned up at all) went into taking that silver out of the ground and processing it, and manufacturing products and moving them to market. Dumping it back into/onto the ground where it has nearly zero chance of ever becoming economically feasible to mine it is irresponsible, just like throwing your tin, aluminum and plastic in the back yard is irresponsible. You have a very narrow and producer-centric view of the economics involved-we all pay the cost.

  9. #19
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    That took a whole lot of words to state the extremely obvious...
    Sometimes that's necessary for those who may be missing the extremely obvious...

    If you have any background at all in the Geological Sciences then you should already understand the effect that scale has on the oft-repeated hysteria that to dump a liter of used fixer into a septic tank once every two or three months is tantamount to creating a new Superfund site. A geologist understands scale. Both in regard to volume, and especially in regard to time. Applying arguments of scale to such claims goes with the territory. Or should.

    If your point is rather to assert an economic argument that wasting money is bad after the initial outlay to concentrate the resource, we all know that. But that's not a resource argument. It's an economic one. And a very, very good economic one. Everyone should be using John's silver magnets. But not to save the earth from silver down the drain. Do it to save yourself the money down the drain.

    As far as the silver itself goes, you can recover silver from your fixer until the cows come home, but at some point the cycle will terminate. One of your as yet unborn great-great-grandchildren will be cleaning out their attic, look at your old silver photo, not remember anything about it or you, and toss it. Where it will then be picked up by the disposal company, put on a truck or train, transported to an approved landfill, and... be returned to the earth from whence it came.

    And there is nothing you can do about that. You're going to live 50-100 years. The earth has been around for 4,540,000,000 years. Google-up The Pale Blue Dot. We are for all practical purposes a closed system, whether you want to acknowledge that or not.

    Given all of this, here's a question for you...

    What exactly, at the most fundamental level, is the crime against Nature in removing silver from one hole in your backyard (a mine), then depositing it into another hole in your backyard (a septic tank)?

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-05-2013 at 12:11 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Proof read...
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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