Municipal Water versus Well Water.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Gregory W Blank, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. For many years I have been using well water for my photographic processing.
    Since I will be moving from my current location, to a home with Chlorinated
    municipal supply I am wondering about whether filtering the chlorine out
    is an advised practice, & (Is there an easy way to do so)?

    I mainly do B&W but will also do some E6 and potentially some C41.

    Gregory W Blank, Nov 25, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Filters primarily remove solid particles, and dissolved material, be it
    minerals (e.g., calcium ions) or gasses (chloride ions) are not solids.

    Those filters containing sufficient activated charcoal can remove some
    dissolved gasses, such as chlorine.

    Since most photographic solutions are buffered, it is unlikely that
    something like chlorine will be dissolved in the water in sufficient
    quantity to affect the pH very much. Some people have trouble with
    changing from one water to another, though I never noticed it, even when
    the taste of the water was extremely different from one place to another.
    I assume (without knowledge) that their problems are perhaps due to
    different ions in the water, and not chlorine or its pH. But since it
    never bothered me to use municipal water, I never investigated it much.

    Solid particals make a mess of negatives, especially small ones such as
    24x32 mm ones on 35 mm film. Hence I use a 5 micron filter on my tempered
    water. I mix my PhotoFlow with dehumidifier condensate that I filter
    through a cotton ball (used one shot). But everything else I use just
    plain municipal water.

    Were I to use solutions containing precious metals (e.g., platinum, gold)
    I would use distilled water for them. When I was doing Cibachrome (now
    known as Ilfochrome), I was advised by Ilford to not use distilled water
    as it was too soft and the wet emulsion was too soft. They recommended tap
    water, which is usually harder, as the most practical for processing their
    Jean-David Beyer, Nov 25, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Gregory W Blank

    Tom Phillips Guest

    I never have and have no noticable issues.

    Course I'm somewhat nearsighted :)

    But in my part of the country the water is also very
    pure (no pollutants or finer particles/sediment to
    filter out, but is chlorinated and fluoridated.) I
    would probably worry about filtering water that isn't
    so pure.
    Tom Phillips, Nov 25, 2004
  4. Gregory W Blank

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Go to the local big box hardware and look over the various filters. It's
    pretty easy to find one that'll handle chlorine. Can't hurt to get rid of
    it. If you aren't in a hurry other methods then filtering will get rid of it
    to but filtering is relatively cheap and painless. If you're setting up a
    new darkroom then consider just putting the filters into the water supply.

    Nick Zentena, Nov 25, 2004
  5. Gregory W Blank

    Some Dude Guest

    I was using well water and I used a Brita (or pur, same thing) which
    cost me $30 for the kit that comes with a filter that screws onto the
    faucet and I replace the filter once every two months. The water
    output is low when its running so unless you have massive water needs
    (and need them quickly) this may be a good choice.

    Another thing i've done is used an aquarium charcoal filter you can
    get at Petco/Petsmart/Pet-whatever. They are moderately tall, narrow
    tube-like things with a faucet end and a tube end. This is relatively
    low water output (and somewhat hard to control the temperature as the
    water has to filter through about an 18-20" tube first, but I got used
    to it and it worked fine for me... Its basically a tube packed full of

    Some Dude, Nov 25, 2004
  6. I vote with JD here. Never had a problem with anymunicipal water
    supply for processing, except when a water main broke and my tap water
    went Brown.

    Robert Vervoordt, MFA
    Robert Vervoordt, Nov 25, 2004
  7. My only problem with one of these, aside from the agony of the slow
    output, was when I first installed it, I had to filter out fine
    Charcoal dust from the final product. Eventually I just went with the
    unfiltered water supplies in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and
    California. No differences in any results over many decades.
    Robert Vervoordt, MFA
    Robert Vervoordt, Nov 25, 2004
  8. Gregory W Blank

    Louie Powell Guest

    Greg -

    Many years ago, I did Cibachrome printing and had acquired a decent level
    of competence. Then my wife convinced me that we needed a water
    softener. I was never able to recalibrate the color balance after the
    water softener was installed.

    I also used to do E6 work. I didn't notice any difference in that
    process before and after the water softener.

    Then, two years ago we moved to our new home. Because we knew that the
    water supply in the new place had a significantly higher iron content, we
    decided to go ahead with a water softener. After constructing the
    darkroom in the new home, I found that there were some discernable
    changes in my black and white work that I attributed to the fact that I
    was dealing with a different water source, but I was able to recalibrate
    fairly quickly.

    So my point is that making changes in your water supply may result in
    discernable differences in the results you get in the darkroom. But my
    experience is that in monochrome work this is a relatively minor nuisance
    that you can quickly recalibrate for.

    In the old place, I used filtered condensate from the dehumidifier as
    final rinse water in processing film. We don't have/need a dehumidifier
    in the new place, but we did choose to install a reverse osmosis drinking
    water filter. I'm using that water as my final rinse.

    Second message - installing a filtration system can be beneficial.
    Louie Powell, Nov 25, 2004
  9. I have done E-6, C-41, and B&W processing for nearly 30 years with an older
    municipal water supply, very hard water. I never noticed a difference in
    results between my initial, unfiltered usage and later. For the last 20
    years, I pipe 5 micron and charcoal filtered water as well as straight tape
    water into my darkroom, using the filtered supply for mixing chemistry and
    film processing/washing. My main concern is not dissolved chemicals but
    rather the high quantity of sand and grit in the city water supply, which I
    can adequately filter with this setup. I use a normal in-line canister rig
    with an appropriate filter.
    Randy Stewart, Nov 25, 2004
  10. A local culinary guru 'round heah', Narsai David, has said that all one need
    do to remove chlorine from drinking water is to let the water stand for about
    5 minutes; the chlorine just evaporates, for the most part.

    Dunno if this is true or not. Anyone with more chemistry smarts can confirm or
    deny this?

    (Here's a thread from a web site discussing the subject:
    David Nebenzahl, Nov 25, 2004
  11. Gregory W Blank

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Two different kinds of chlorine are used I think for water treatment. One
    will come out with time [not five minutes?] the other won't.

    Not me-)

    Nick Zentena, Nov 25, 2004
  12. Gregory W Blank

    Jim Phelps Guest


    I'm going to go against the flow of the other post. I use demineralized
    water for all developers, including dilutions, bleaches and fixers (not to
    mention final rinse). My reasoning is, if you want consistent and
    repeatable results, then why chance it to something like the water. Demi
    water is cheap. I strive for the most consistent processes to maintain the
    repeatability of the calibrations I so painstakingly worked through.
    Especially with color processes. It may not amount to a hill of beans in
    actual differences, but at least I can say - It ain't the water, so it's
    gotta be me.

    My two cents worth.

    Jim Phelps, Nov 25, 2004
  13. Randy Stewart wrote (in part):
    I wish that was the main problem with my municipal water. I use plain (not
    activated charcoal) 5 micron filters after my temperature control valve
    (the valve has wire screen filters at its input to keep out the bugs and
    things). When I inspect the filter, it reveals not sand or grit (that I am
    sure are there) because it is a disgusting slimy brown color that I
    imagine the inside of a septic tank would look like. Truely revolting. Yet
    it passes tests for health and safety, at least as it leaves the water
    treatment plant.
    Jean-David Beyer, Nov 26, 2004
  14. Dissolved gasses come out of solution more quickly as the temperature of
    the water is increased. Boiling will get most of them out, but you need
    not go to that extreme. It depends on what dissolved gas you are concerned
    about. Carbon dioxide comes out pretty fast (shake a bottle of beer or
    soft drink and you will see).
    Jean-David Beyer, Nov 26, 2004
  15. Gregory W Blank

    The Wogster Guest

    Unless you live right next door to the treatment plant, there can be a
    lot of kilometers of pipe between your house and the treatment plant.
    Even in a brand new house, some of that pipe can ve decades old, it's
    not uncommon in older cities to see pipes that are near or even past the
    century mark in age. A lot of crap can build up in a 100 year old pipe.
    Some of those pipes can have been damaged and stuff is getting in as
    well as out.

    Grab a clean 1L/1Qt bottle, draw off some cold water from the closest
    tap to the water main in your house. Is it the same way? Fill the
    bottle with that water. Now pay a visit to the water department at city
    hall, tell them that your bottle is from your house water supply. They
    may be willing to get it tested for you, and then try to find the
    problem. Be prepared to point to your house on a city map.
    The Wogster, Nov 26, 2004
  16. Gregory W Blank

    Dan Quinn Guest

    Gregory W Blank <
    Free chlorine in water is an oxidizer. I doubt the amount
    present will be detected in your day to day work. Perhaps distilled
    for your more sensitive solutions; developer being one.
    De-chlore, (?), is used in swimming pools; S. Thiosulfate. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Nov 26, 2004
  17. I mainly do B&W but will also do some E6 and potentially some C41.
    i think that my way is easy and cheap:
    i buy soft no gas bottled water, it cost me about 1 Euro for a dozen
    CLearly in Italy there is a large amount of kind of bottled water but
    every kind of this (evian here is cheap here...).
    There is not an absence of minerals like demineralized but a very low
    content of minerals. And it's more than enough.
    In summer only I use demineralized water only for the last rinse with
    wetting agent.
    Believe me it's ok!!

    stefano bramato, Nov 27, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.