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  #1  
Old 23rd June 2014, 12:34 PM
smudgeg smudgeg is offline
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Default Darkroom chemicals

good afternoon,
Another question from a newbie! - I have just set up my first darkroom and will shortly be in a position to start printing having already tried my first film development. My question is regarding the disposal of chemicals - are they safe to put down the sink and in our case, are they septic tank friendly?? We live in a rural area of scotland and I would hate to ruin those friendly little bugs in the septic tanks, that do such a good job, with nasty darkroom chemicals!!!
thanks for reading
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Old 23rd June 2014, 07:07 PM
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most of the off the shelf stuff supplied by ilford, kodak etc is safe to put down the sink. But as always read the instructions and if you start to buy and use some of the more exotic chemicals then you may need to be careful depending on what it is.

I have always wondered about septic tanks. Silver (Ag) is used in medicine as an anti bacterial agent.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_uses_of_silver

question is whether it and other chemicals are present in sufficient quantity to kill the bugs. Not sure about that.

If you ask your local council they will undoubtedly err on the safe side and extract some money from you to dispose of it (which will most likely be throwing it down their own sink instead of yours).

in a normal sewer it would become so diluted there wouldn't be a problem. In a sceptic tank it could be a different story.
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Old 24th June 2014, 02:18 PM
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I have seen some people report that they pour their used fixer on their flower beds without a problem. I personally wouldn't recommend that but digging a six to eight foot deep sinkhole and filling with hardcore would probably do the job without risking your septic tank.
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Old 24th June 2014, 02:38 PM
Luis Luis is offline
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Afaik that applies to desilvered ammonium thio. Also may apply to selenium toner depending your soil. Always quite diluted. Sodium thio doesn't do much as fertilizer, again afaik
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Old 24th June 2014, 03:23 PM
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Ian Marsh Ian Marsh is offline
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I have a septic tank and am careful not to put chemicals into it, I would also not put them into the land around me as we are in a forested area and very close to a main reservoir.
I store my liquids in flagons until we have some decent weather and then pour them into a shallow tray and let them evaporate, there is a small deposit left that I scrape off and this goes in the standard rubbish.

Couple of points:
Cover the tray with a fine mesh to stop wildlife getting in.
I remove the silver from fixer first.
You do not need very hot weather, just as large as possible surface area, it is then just a big puddle.
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Old 24th June 2014, 05:01 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Ian having lived in the OP's area many years ago the chances of a long enough hot dry spell to do what you can do in Portugal by evaporation is to say the least limited.

I suspect, OP, you either have to store it all in very big containers and get the liquid removed or you transport it to an authorised dump or you check with experts at the local authority about what is safe in a septic tank. I'd try the last option first. 30-40 years ago or less there has to have been darkroom users who only had septic tanks. How did they manage, I wonder?

Hopefully normal darkroom chemicals can be poured into a septic tank in the kind of quantities you will generate.

Mike
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Old 24th June 2014, 06:05 PM
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We had a septic tank back in the 70s and I avoided putting used chemicals into the tank. I just thought it would not be a good idea - no hard scientific advice easily available then so I opted for the safe side.

My darkroom was in an outside building and I simply discharged the darkroom waste (with plenty of water) at soil level on to our loganberry bush bed.

We had great crops of loganberries and lived to tell the tale


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Old 24th June 2014, 09:02 PM
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I would if I was you, pore the dev stop fix in to a plastic drum ,and when its full take it to the tip to dispose of it, (or to someone who is on a sewer and pore it down there toilet)..the other water the rinse water I would use to water the garden with or if you are not on a water meter I would just build a little soak away and run a waist pipe into it ,I have been using the stuff since the early 1969 and it hasn't done me much harm (yet) .....



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Old 25th June 2014, 10:37 AM
MikeHeller MikeHeller is offline
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I have a septic tank (actually, technically, a cesspit) and I gaily chuck my used chemicals down the drain and have done so for the 25 years I have been here. I have found no problems.
I had some undiluted fixer recently that I was not happy to use (produced a haze when diluted (sulphur?)) which I put to ground in a corner of my field, though.

Putting things in the drain and environmental effects in practice is all about relative volumes and concentrations.
Mike
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:05 PM
smudgeg smudgeg is offline
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Many thanks for the replies folks. I will probably err on the side of caution and dispose of the chemicals at our local recyling centre. I will not be using vast quantities so wont be doing this too often!
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