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Author Topic: Disposing of Chemicals in a Septic Tank  (Read 107236 times)
howiesmith
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2007, 07:31:22 PM »
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Instead of these vague, unhelpful statements, Howard,  show us the relevant part of the 'no doubt' long-winded document you refer to which deals with the problem being discussed in this thread.

I've provided a practical, cost effective solution which I believe would work and which lays full responsibility on the person who has created the waste. Your solution is to pass on the responsibility to someone else and hope the business operator taking your money does the right thing.

Sometimes in life you just have to use your common sense, Howard.
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Ray, you are often wrong but never in doubt.  Look it up ypurself.
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2007, 10:45:41 PM »
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Ray, you are often wrong but never in doubt.  Look it up ypurself.
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I'm always in doubt and probably rarely completely right on any subject. However, I have done a Google search on the subject and have taken the trouble to post what I thought was a relevant extract on the toxiciity of darkroom chemicals, which is more than you have done.

My advise to the original poster is; exercise some common sense. Don't upset the delicate biological processes of your sceptic tank. If you can find a convenient and economical way of getting someone to collect your slightly toxic waste, then fine. If not, don't worry. Dilute your waste with lots of water and pour it in a pit near the corner of your block. Throw in some organic matter as well and after a period of time, try growing tomatos in that pit and inform us of the results, if we are still around to read your post   .
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howiesmith
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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2007, 03:22:34 PM »
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A couple last thoughts.

The world's population has topprd 6.5 billion people.  We are likely past the time we can think like independant cowboys and do whatever we want with no regard for others around us.

Australia has finally cleaned up its garbage dumps in Antarctica.  I guess they decided their block wasn't just their block.  Maybe the idea that we can dump whatever we want whereever we want has gone by, even for the free spirited Australians.

I find it interesting that a good place to dump waste is in the "corner of your block."    As far from "me" as possible and yet as close to others (who have little input to what "me" is doing) as possible?

And finally, why tomatoes and not radishes or rudibagas?

I still say dispose of properly, even for cowboys.
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pflower
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2007, 06:29:58 PM »
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Well I started this thread and I thank everyone who has contributed.  My take on it is as follows:

1.Routing my darkroom into my septic tank is a very bad idea and I won't do it.
2.My local Council has  no strategy beyond major industrial use to dispose of small (i.e 5-10  litres at a time) of chemicals.
3. Ray's suggestion of a small pit lined with plastic and sawdust seems to me the most logical and practical.  I have a big enough garden to do this without ever having to grow anything on top of this.
4  But.... can we be confident that animals, my dog for one, are smart enough to avoid it and not drink from it?  Sure no dog is going to drink neat fixer or developer but when heavily diluted...  I guess some kind of mesh cover is called for.  Actually leaving a small hole in the bottom might be a good idea to discourage the moles!  Ok no I'm not going to do that.

That is what I am going to do - dump the water from my wash through the septic tank but decant the developer, fixer, toner and hypo clearer into containers and put them in a pit lined with plastic and sawdust, left open to evaporate and then burn the residue.

But do I really want to do this?  Read my other thread about papers.  I have just taken my last box of Oriental Seagull out of the freezer. (processing in London on the main sewers).  Once that is gone I am not sure I am going to find another paper I really want to print on.

Maybe the only thing left is digital.

Is the silver gelatin print now dead?

 
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A couple last thoughts.

The world's population has topprd 6.5 billion people.  We are likely past the time we can think like independant cowboys and do whatever we want with no regard for others around us.

Australia has finally cleaned up its garbage dumps in Antarctica.  I guess they decided their block wasn't just their block.  Maybe the idea that we can dump whatever we want whereever we want has gone by, even for the free spirited Australians.

I find it interesting that a good place to dump waste is in the "corner of your block."    As far from "me" as possible and yet as close to others (who have little input to what "me" is doing) as possible?

And finally, why tomatoes and not radishes or rudibagas?

I still say dispose of properly, even for cowboys.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2007, 06:48:22 PM »
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Animals can and do drink spilled auto antifreeze and die.  A dog drinking photo chemmies doesn't seem out of the question.  Dogs aren't as smart as most of us.  What this stuff smells and tastes like to you may be very different to your dog.  Your dog will eat its own vomit.  Would you eat your dog's vomit or lick your dog's gonads?

What you do with your chemmies is of course your decision.  This is exactly why there are generic disposal directions on the packages.  Silly as they seem to some, they mean you don't have to worry about what your dog will drink.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 06:49:10 PM by howiesmith » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2007, 06:58:35 PM »
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Maybe the only thing left is digital.

Is the silver gelatin print now dead?
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It's a storm in a tea cup. Everyone reading this thread whould have assumed you would not be doing wet processing for long, except Howard perhaps, who's been behaving as though this is a new technology which is going to have a major environmental impact on the planet as hundreds of millions of people begin disposing of waste darkroom chemicals in their backyard.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2007, 07:37:23 PM »
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Same ignorance and arrogance that brought us Thala Valley, just a different scale and type of garbage.

Here in the USA, we used to think the air, land and water had an infinite ability to suffer abuse.  So we were wrong.  So what?
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2007, 08:46:13 PM »
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just a different scale and type of garbage.
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The scale and type of garbage is everything. This principle runs through just about everything we do. Too little is inconsequential. A bit more can be beneficial. Too much is harmful. Even atomic radiation can be beneficial in small doses.

Before I met you, Howard, I used to think engineers were practically oriented people with their feet firmly on the ground, able to appreciate the practical benefits of doing things one way as opposed to another.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 11:56:20 PM by Ray » Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2007, 10:21:52 PM »
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I have found this Howie-Ray slugfest quite informative. Thus, I am hereby resolving never again to dump my used chemicals in Ray's back yard.  

Then again, I haven't used my wet darkroom in about two and a half years, so a bigger ongoing concern for me now is how to recycle (meaningfully) all sorts of old computer equipment. I did just recently discover a place that recycles old floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, and magnetic tapes.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2007, 10:39:03 AM »
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The scale and type of garbage is everything. This principle runs through just about everything we do. Too little is inconsequential. A bit more can be beneficial. Too much is harmful. Even atomic radiation can be beneficial in small doses.

Before I met you, Howard, I used to think engineers were practically oriented people with their feet firmly on the ground, able to appreciate the practical benefits of doing things one way as opposed to another.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106154\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is thought by some that small amounts of radiation are good for people.  Not adequately demonstrated yet.  Large doses can be beneficial for some folks.

I like to think engineers are practical people with the feet firmly on firm ground.  I do not know any responsible engineer that would recommend just dumping chemicals at least until they knew what the chemicals were, what they reacted with and how, and the effects of dumping on the unsuspecting and environment.  "B&W chemicals" includes many chemicals in varying concentrations.  The engineers that put the disposal procedures on the label just might have a better idea than you and I about what is in the package.  It is not in the manufacturer's best interest to make disposal intructions unnecessarily difficult.  The public may not buy their product.  Then again, engineers do not want to help create a disaster.

No, this is not new technology.  That may be one reason disposal intstructions are what they are instaed of more restrictive.  Nor do the instructions say to dump your last try in the garden.  The purpsoe of the instructions is not to make life hard, but to help keep cowboys safe and the world safe from cowboys.  (A cowboy in this example is a nonthinking freelancer.)

It is interesting that it was esay for folks to believe these chemicals might hurt their septic system (did they ask an expert?) but suddenly know better than the experts that dumping in the garden is fine.  But maybe not for the family dog.  How much more valuable is the family dog that the family?

How you dispose of this waste is a matter of how responsible you are and to what (you are willing to risk whatever for a few $$.)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 10:44:29 AM by howiesmith » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2007, 08:28:49 PM »
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The engineers that put the disposal procedures on the label just might have a better idea than you and I about what is in the package.  It is not in the manufacturer's best interest to make disposal intructions unnecessarily difficult.  The public may not buy their product.  Then again, engineers do not want to help create a disaster.


I doubt it's the engineers who recommend putting disposal procedures on labels but lawyers in order to protect their companies from possible litigation. But let's have a look at some of these labels. Can you show us a few to see if they are applicable to pflower's situation or whether they consist of anything more than motherhood statements?

Pflower has already stated that his local council has no strategy for disposal of small amounts of toxic waste. People on sceptic tank systems are generally some distance from densely populated areas, which makes it probably inconvenient and expensive to dispose of these small amounts of waste in the manner you suggest.

In such circumstances, a more creative approach is required, but one also based on common sense.

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It is interesting that it was esay for folks to believe these chemicals might hurt their septic system (did they ask an expert?) but suddenly know better than the experts that dumping in the garden is fine.  But maybe not for the family dog.  How much more valuable is the family dog that the family?

Howard, I really find it difficult to believe you are/were an engineer. It seems to me that you couldn't even pass a preliminary test to determine suitability for that profession.

Question: I've dug a hole about 1 metre square and half a metre deep which I've filled with organic matter, such as sawdust. The purpose of the hole is a receptacle for chemical waste from a darkroom. Such waste is diluted significantly with water so it is only mildly toxic. However, I have some dearly loved dogs running around and I'm worried they might try to drink such water, or even eat the chemically impregnated sawdust. I'm confident it wouldn't kill them but it might make them ill for a few days. I want to spare them this learning process. What should I do?

Answer: Cover the hole with a piece of rigid, heavy duty galvanised iron mesh and secure all 4 sides with slabs of rock, bricks or anything fairly heavy. Pour the diluted waste chemicals through the mesh. There should be no need to remove the mesh, except occasionally to replenish the sawdust.

Howard, you surprise me. If I ever find myself in charge of a business that has a vacancy for an engineer, please don't apply.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2007, 03:13:45 PM »
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Lawyers do get involved with labeling, but they do not write the procedures.  Most lawyers have no idea what to do with a batch of fixer.  Not all products require or have protective labels.  These are usually reserved for products that can or have done harm.  Labels are different if the harm is done to the user of the product only or could involve the general public.  In the case of public health and safety, "probably" won't hurt isn't good enough.  Responsibility requires more.

Frequently, when the public health and safety is involved. there is an analysis done of the risks and consequences.  Procedures for the use and disposal are based on minimizing the risk and consequences.  When something different than the analyized situation is proposed, another, simpler analysis may be done to determine whether the proposed changes are bounded by the existing analysis.  Frequently, the question that must be answered is can the dumping this stuff in your garden cause a result different or more severe than the approved method of disposal.  If not, either the proposal is not adopted or it is analized for safety.

New or different kind of problrm?  Likely not,  The results are likely the same as drinking or inhaling the fumes.  More severe is likely where we are.  The probablity of a real problem is likely increased significanly.  What is safer?  Diluted and down a sanitary sewer or dumped into ypur garden?

I doubt that dumping chemicals in your garden is covered by the existing analyes.  If it were OK, Kodak might recommend that.  Therefore, it is very difficult to say what the consequences may be.  The consequences could vary from severe health problems to really great tomatoes.  It just doesn't seem responsible to assume no harm when someone else's health and safety is concerned.

Ray, are you be willing to personally assume all the responsibility ($$$) for harm done by anyone following your advice to dump their photo chemicals in their garden?  I doubt it, but you might be.  Are you willing to live with the knowledge you killed or maimed someone or even made them very sick?

The only benefit offered so far seems to be money (cheaper to dump than to dispose of as directed) and convienece (easier to dump that follow the directions).  

I don't know that anyone has ever sued Kodak because they dumped their chemicals in the garden and grew really fine tomatoes.  But let their dog get sick or their child grow an extra toe, ... .  Even if not guilty, the cost could be way more than any perceived benefit.  Try telling the mother next door (or her lawyers) you were just trying to save a buck and a few minutes.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 05:14:41 PM by howiesmith » Logged
Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2007, 01:21:34 PM »
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Short of launching it into outer space, we have only 3 places into which we can put our garbage: the water, the ground, and the air. No matter which we choose, it will be with us for a while so it is incumbent on us to think carefully about how we dispose of our waste material. This isn't a new or even radical idea. My cat knows enough not to defecate where it eats.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2007, 01:45:54 PM »
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Short of launching it into outer space, we have only 3 places into which we can put our garbage: the water, the ground, and the air. No matter which we choose, it will be with us for a while so it is incumbent on us to think carefully about how we dispose of our waste material. This isn't a new or even radical idea. My cat knows enough not to defecate where it eats.
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Does that mean that even your cat knows things some people don't about waste management?  I would suggest changing "think carefully" to simply "think."
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jennd0718
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« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2007, 03:57:19 PM »
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It doesn't appear that your original question was ever really answered.  I also live on a septic system and would never think of putting anything, even developer, down the drain and into my backyard.  Check to see if you city or county has a hazardous waste disposal site or some communities have special collection days.  The county I live in has a site where they will dispose of all of my expired chemsitry.  Depending on your community, there may be a small fee, but it's nothing when I consider the health of my yard, my neighbors and my planet.
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Ray
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« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2007, 05:46:00 PM »
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Check to see if you city or county has a hazardous waste disposal site or some communities have special collection days.

He has and they don't. The irrational part of some of the arguments in this thread is the notion that it's okay to breathe in the fumes, and expose the skin to the fumes of chemicals that are so dangerous that, even when diluted and poured into a pit in the corner of your block where they will no doubt break down, oxidise and  gradually be dispersed, is not okay.

You can't have it both ways. If the darkroom chemicals really are so dangerous that it would be irresponsible to dispose of them in the way I have recommended in this thread, bearing in mind that people who have sceptic tanks are on larger than average blocks of land, then I for one would simply refuse to work with such chemicals. I've got more respect for my health.

If you really are concerned about not contributing to the pollution of the planet, then don't produce the pollution in the first place; that is, don't buy the polluting chemicals.

So far, the only mention in this thread of possible dangerous components of these waste chemicals that won't break down, is selenium. As it so happens, selenium is an essential trace element which appears to be deficient in the soil in many areas, particularly in the UK; so much so that bakers over there are considering adding it to the bread. Most of the other elements in the waste are probably just nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen  carbon, sulphur, silver sodium etc, none of which seem particularly dangerous to me.

It's not my problem of course, but if anyone is aware of any components in darkroom waste that are particularly inert, that have a long life, which are likely to resist breaking down in the soil when exposed to air and rain, and which are particularly toxic, then speak up.
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Monito
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« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2007, 08:56:50 AM »
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You just don't seem to get it or understand chemistry.  Heavy metals like selenium don't decay or break down.  They can get into the ground water or into runoff and they get concentrated by the ecosystem.  It works its way up the food chain getting concentrated and you may find your favorite bird or mammal imperiled.

Another difficulty is that somebody can buy the house or other property to build a house on, and then a child plays in the yard and gets sub-clinical toxicity that is not detected but degrades their learning ability.

You don't breath heavy metals but dumping them into the environment is foolish in the extreme.

You haven't posted any sound chemistry that I have seen, so I suggest you dispose of chemicals according to the manufacturer's guidelines and conforming to all laws because there is a much higher chance they have been written with a greater understanding of chemistry and ecology and childhood development than you have exhibited.

Please, don't hurt animals and people through willful ignorance.
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MonitoPhoto (Landscape, Architecture, Portraits: Halifax, Nova Scotia)
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« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2007, 08:59:55 AM »
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Read up on selenium contamination in California before you continue to natter on about it being a food supplement.

There is a huge difference between an adult taking a nutritional supplement after careful study and unwitting consumption of poisons dumped into the environment by someone else.
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MonitoPhoto (Landscape, Architecture, Portraits: Halifax, Nova Scotia)
howiesmith
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« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2007, 09:30:11 AM »
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A quick check at Kodak's website (quote below):

"Most photographic processing effluents and wash waters contain chemicals that are biodegradable. They are, therefore, compatible with aerobic (with oxygen) biological treatment systems and are effectively treated when sent to an efficient sewage treatment facility. Permission from the local treatment authority may be needed (a written consent or permit is usually needed and limits what can and can't be discharge). Contact your local authorities to see if you need consent and to determine local discharge limits." [emphasis added]

This may eliminate septic systems.  I don't know whether your garden is considered an "efficient sewage treatment facility."  I still urge you do dispose of chemicals properly and responsibly.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 09:57:08 AM by howiesmith » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2007, 10:04:23 AM »
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You just don't seem to get it or understand chemistry.

You don't seem to have read what I've written. I understand enough chemistry to know that an element is an element, and the  element selenium is a vital trace element that is lacking in many soils.  I'm not talking about continuous dumping of large amounts of darkroom waste over a number of years in a small back yard, but small amounts of waste from a small domestic operation, which is the original poster's situation. To suggest, say a one acre block of land (I'm on 5 acres and have a sceptic tank) could become seriously polluted with excess selenium from such a small operation is ridiculous.

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You haven't posted any sound chemistry that I have seen, so I suggest you dispose of chemicals according to the manufacturer's guidelines and conforming to all laws because there is a much higher chance they have been written with a greater understanding of chemistry and ecology and childhood development than you have exhibited.

Nor have you posted any sound chemistry. You are simply scaremongering and seem to have got things quite out of proportion. Perhaps my view is influenced by the fact that most seriously toxic chemicals are banned in Australia, such as dieldrin and aldrin which used to very effective for creating a barrier to white ants when sprayed on the ground before laying a house slab. They would remain toxic for many decades.
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