FW: A couple of questions.

From: Best, Dianne ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/06/05-06:36:29 AM Z
Message-id: <51ABFBF1DF07AA4384B3E1BCC0A93C7801DC2C89@MHMAIL03.hydro.mb.ca>

>> I now live in house with a septic field. Any advice on how to do
silver and alt-photography without killing the thing?

I have been doing conventional photography in a rural area for 25 years
but I don't send photo chemicals into the septic field. The septic tank
need to keep an active growth of bacteria to function properly and I
have always been concerned about upsetting that growth with chemicals.

My darkroom sink drains into the sump, which in turn pumps out to the
road-side ditch which, fortunately, is in a different aquifer than my
shallow surface well. In 8 years in this location, I have not seen any
change in the flora or fauna around my discharge pipe nor seen any
related change in my well water. If I were to venture into some of the
more toxic processes (involving any form of cyanide), I would seriously
consider collecting the waste and disposing of it in a more controlled

2. Any advice on well water?

My present home has a surface well (15 feet) with the best water for
many miles around. The mineral content is very low and it is free of any
surface contaminates. However, I do find that the mineral content varies
with the seasons (being the highest when the water table is lowest in
late winter) and I have moved to using distilled water for mixing my
photographic chemicals - MUCH more consistent results. I was seeing
variations in my tintype developer depending on the time of year and
that disappeared with distilled water. There is LOTS of information on
the Net about building your own still and a simple still is the most
efficient, unless you have other uses for your still, in which case you
may want to make a refractory still ;-)

(aka Calamity Jane)
Received on Wed Jul 6 06:36:46 2005

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