We have received several inquiries regarding the disposal of processing chemicals into septic systems. Therefore, we would like to provide you, our valued customer important information so that you can assist your customers with disposal guidelines.
Septic systems are designed and used specifically for the disposal of sanitary waste, primarily in rural areas where access to municipal sewers is not available. A septic system operates with anaerobic (without oxygen) biological treatment. The natural bacteria formed by this process are essential for the proper breakdown of sanitary waste.
Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW’s) utilize aerobic (with oxygen) biological treatment systems, which effectively treats sanitary waste along with other types of effluent including industrial discharges.
Since septic systems rely on natural bacteria to decompose waste products, introduction of chemicals (including X-ray processing) can upset the process, unless the effluent is heavily diluted with sanitary waste. Septic systems may maintain their efficiency in treating sanitary and photographic wastes if the ratio of sanitary waste to photographic waste (including wash water) is kept in the range of 20:1. For example, if there is approximately 300 gallons of sanitary waste being discharged into a septic system per day, a correctly designed and installed system should be capable of handling about 15 gallons of photographic waste.
If practical, pretreatment of the processing waste through various biological methods is recommended to minimize the impact on septic systems. Silver recovery is essential to reduce the silver content in the effluent.
We encourage you to contact your regional, state or local Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office to determine whether the discharge of effluents other than domestic waste into your septic system is permitted. If discharge is not permitted in your area, it may be necessary to have the effluent collected and disposed of through a licensed chemical disposal service.Download Technical Memo