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Old 09-25-2009   #51
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That smiley is soo sweet Bill

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Old 09-25-2009   #52
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That smiley is soo sweet Bill

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Old 09-25-2009   #53
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Apart from Bill's links on argyria, people buy silver solutions because of their antibacterial properties. This is exactly the reason why they're bad for the bacteria in the sewage plant (and why they may not be so healthy after all).
Yes, but the amounts of silver involved are pretty trival, which is why most sane and scientifically literate local authorities don't worry about the tiny amounts that are poured down the drain by amateur photographers.

The amounts tipped down the average town drain 20 years ago must have been 1 or 2 orders of magnitude greater than today and it still wasn't a problem.

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Old 09-25-2009   #54
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oh, great, another Saab story...


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My favourite Saab story:

90% of Saab drivers believe that Saabs are the most reliable cars sold today.

And 90% believe that theirs is the only exception.

(The same story is told of Volvos).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 09-25-2009   #55
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Roger: Right before reading this, i was thinking about all the intact-but-ragged-looking Saabs (pre-GM takeover...I don't really care to discuss those later ones) here in the NYC area. (Think of Miles' Saab in Sideways.) Did they get that way because their build quality didn't live up to the hype, or because their enthusiastic owners/second owners/etc. drove the sweet things nearly into the ground? I've always liked 'em, but I wonder.

As for dealing with photo chemistry, I try to be reasonable about what gets poured down the drain. But, in the basement where I'll be starting up film developing again, you should see the stuff others have poured down that same drain. Makes anything I end up pouring down there seem no more poisonous than a particularly stiff cocktail.


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Old 09-25-2009   #56
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I was once told that the only likely problem arising from photographic chemicals being disposed of via the drains was if I'd consumed them first.

So for almost fifty years living in both Melbourne and Sydney I have therefore poured them away accompanied by a good flush of tap water and gone back to my Scotch.
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Old 09-25-2009   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Yes, but the amounts of silver involved are pretty trival, which is why most sane and scientifically literate local authorities don't worry about the tiny amounts that are poured down the drain by amateur photographers.

The amounts tipped down the average town drain 20 years ago must have been 1 or 2 orders of magnitude greater than today and it still wasn't a problem.

Cheers,

R.
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And again, it's a matter of degrees. Alcohol is toxic in large doses, yet how many of us happily guzzle that down every day?
My contention exactly and also my reason for calling for common sense. Along time ago, when cancer research was all the rage, one study concluded that giving lab rats massive doses of distilled water promoted cancer growth. All things in moderation, as the old folks used to say. Unless your town is very small, its sewage treatment facility very inadequate, and there are a large number of photographers rolling their own, I doubt very much that the amount of water soluble silver is significantly high to cause problems with the eco-system. Kodak's publication on disposing of photo-chemicals says that most of the silver precipitates out and remains in the sludge in a non-water soluble state and therefore, has little impact upon the enviroment.
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Old 09-25-2009   #58
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Fix should not be put down the drain.
If you are worried about bad chemicals in the environment and your impact, then you should think about what chemicals you use. This is what I have been using http://silvergrain.com/
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Old 09-25-2009   #59
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I work at a college where all chemicals and chemical use are tightly controlled. Developer and Permawash go down the drain to be dealt with at the local sewage plant. Stop is neutralized before going down the drain and fix is run through a silver recovery unit.

Home use of photo chemistry and water use is such a miniscule drop in the bucket compared to the use by industry anywhere in the world, we'd never even come close in a year to what a small factory does in a day or two.
At the college where I work, we have similar controls in place to make sure we abide by state law (it's a different state). Everything does down the drain except the fixer and water used for holding fixed prints before the wash. Those go thru silver recovery unit.
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Old 09-26-2009   #60
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Hi Roger & Papa Smurf,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Smurf View Post
Unless your town is very small, its sewage treatment facility very inadequate, and there are a large number of photographers rolling their own, I doubt very much that the amount of water soluble silver is significantly high to cause problems with the eco-system.
The problem doesn't occur in the ecosystem, it's in your sewage treatment facility. Sewage treatment works using a milieu of bacteria ("activated sludge") to clean the water. Silver is hazardous to those bacteria. By pouring stuff down the drain you're damaging your local sewage plant more than the environment. You don't have to be a tree-hugger to consider this a bad idea.

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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Yes, but the amounts of silver involved are pretty trival,
Actually they're not. A liter of spent fixer can contain several grams of silver - up to 4-5 g/l if you use one-bath fixing, which is what you see from the scale on fixing bath testing sticks, up to 10-15 g/l if you use two-bath fixing. For comparison: commercially available antibacterial tablets for cleaning drinking water (Micropur MC10T) contain about 0.1 mg/l for cleaning ten liters of drinking water. In other words, one liter of spent fixer from the first step of a two-bath fixing cascade contains enough silver for the antibacterial treatment of about 100.000 liters of water. While this obciously doesn't translate to 100 cubic meters of microbial sludge in your sewage plant, it still is quite bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
which is why most sane and scientifically literate local authorities don't worry about the tiny amounts that are poured down the drain by amateur photographers.
Given that your local sewage plant processes quite a bit more than those 100 cubic meters, the amount of damage is rather controlled; I guess that is what you mean. ("I don't know how many fishponds there are all over the country, but if you dump stuff in just one of them it doesn't doo too much damage.") The fact that it was bad twenty years ago, that people were irresponsible back then, and the often-heard (not from you in this case) that other people behave irresponsible too so why shouldn't you, doesn't change that it's still irresponsible today.

I don't know about the US or southern France, but over here handing in used photochemicals for treatment is free for a reason. Given that there's practically no extra work involved in behaving responsibly instead of irresponsibly, the same sane and scientifically literate local authorities would probably tell you that small quantity is no excuse for laziness. Even where it isn't free, or if it's too much work to drive over to wherever you can hand in your chemicals every few weeks, you can get the silver out at home. It is no work at all to pour your spent fixer into a jug, put in a swab of iron wool or a tablespoon of sodium dithionite (at $20 the kilogram) and leave it in your back yard for two weeks before you pour it down the drain. There's really no reason not to do so.

On a different note, if you're chemically minded and use your darkroom regularly, you can smelt the silver out of the residue from the sodium dithionite and have your local dental technician cast it into a ring for the significant other once a year or so. Nobody said there's no secondary benefits to darkroom work.

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Old 09-26-2009   #61
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It is quite amazing how much a smiley can change the interpretation of a sentence.
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Old 09-26-2009   #62
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It's not like Love Canal.

I do save my fixer, though. I do it out of principle (like the Dalai Lama always turns off the light when he leaves a room) but I have collected about 6 ounces of silver precipitate in the last two years. Thinking of switching from steel wool to sodium borohydride.
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