View Full Version : water conditioning

5-Oct-2018, 07:33
Hi all,well we got into our new place.A acreage with a house and 2 large out buildings.One of the buildings is being renovated for my new studio with darkroom..Ive been renting studio space for 22 years.Ive built darkrooms in both locations.This would be the 3rd one but all mine.I got a water line and drain dug in last week to the building.The water comes straight from the well.The house has a water system but the new line bypasses the house.I called the # on the unit and he is coming out next week to test the new line.He said the well is heavy,iron =4 parts per mil.hardness is 2.0grains per gal.(but they are gonna test again) So to those who had to deal with this kind of thing what am i to expect here,Lots of $ for a filtration system?what is your experience?Haven't had this problem with my other 2 darkrooms as they were on city water.Thanks for any help.

5-Oct-2018, 16:37
Try a 5 micron filter on the line before a water softener and a 1 micron filter after the softener. Will give you clean water.
Others will have to give you info on dealing with iron in the water.

neil poulsen
5-Oct-2018, 19:21
You might consider using distilled water for the developer, and maybe for the stop and fixer as well.

Peter Collins
5-Oct-2018, 19:31
Consider buying a simple, under-the-counter RO unit with a counter-top spigot, install on your wet side counter in the darkroom. This will set you back less than $200 and give you water with virtually no TDS (total dissolved solids), which includes negative ions of hardness such as CO3 (carbonate), bicarbonate, SO4 (sulfate), chloride, and positive ions potassium, sodium, calcium and iron. These are the major water quality ions. You might have low levels of manganese, arsenic, etc., in the water, but such materials are at much, much lower levels than the major ions listed above, AND the kitchen-type RO unit will handle those, too. This source would be the one I would use for mixing chemicals, especially developer.

While you might very well install this yourself, you should consider testing the treated water once a year, or every 10,000 gallons if you do. Or you might have a local water quality business test your water so that you can ask them to tell you when you should replace the RO membrane filter, plus the pre-filters. They will want to sell you the RO unit!

For washing prints, you might use the well water directly after installing an in-line 1-micron filter, but if you decide to install a water softener, use that water directly for print washing. And, if you decide to install the RO unit, connect it UPSTREAM of the water softener, i.e., to the raw water supply from the well. Your RO filter will last a lot longer if you do it this way.

How do I know all this? I lived in the country on a well in MI for almost 30 years, went through 2 water softeners, installed a kitchen RO unit when we moved in and ran it for nearly 30 years. Even had high arsenic in the water, and the county required that I install a whole-house arsenic removal system. And, I was an environmental consultant for too long--37 years--and dealt with water quality. That's how I learned.

Frank B.
6-Oct-2018, 13:57
I too have question about water filtration, that is, looking for a diagram/drawing or photo or website that could show an accurate depiction of what I need and what it should look like once installed. The filtrated water will be supplied through a Hass water temperature control. Some suggestions from photographers I know mention that they filter the water twice, first to 20 and then to 5 microns. Any thoughts or suggestions?

6-Oct-2018, 16:56
You might consider using distilled water for the developer, and maybe for the stop and fixer as well.

That's what I do, and I wash in hard water because it efficiently carries away hypo. A final dunk in distilled water with Photo Flow is perfect.

13-Oct-2018, 09:45
Thanks all for the info..Yes ive always used distilled water for chems (i mix my own using raw bulk chemistry) its the washing thats my concern (FB paper). Thanks Peter Colins no softener in the studio.im looking at RO filters do i put the micron filters before the ro unit or after or both?I do see a Iron clear filter from Culligan.Here is 2 photos of what im dealing with for reference.The DR will be in the back 1/2 of the building (300 sq.ft.).Still haven't heard from the water guy,hopefully he can come out on Monday.I need to figure it out before i build the sink.Thanks agian and ill have more questions coming at ya.

14-Oct-2018, 11:12
You might consider using distilled water for the developer, and maybe for the stop and fixer as well.

Yes, concur. Tap and especially well water, has tons of dissolved solids in it. Here are some test photos showing residue from 1 gallon of tap and well water after steam distillation.


It is not just dissolved solids, there are lots of invisible chemicals in the water that can't be seen in photos. You will see this in some test photos showing a rainbow color residue in the distillation boiling pot. Chemicals should be mixed in distilled water and if you rinse in tap or well water, a final rinse in distilled water is good insurance.

Water filters vary a lot. You will see some water filters tests as well on the site. But no tests for inline filters. You can test the effectiveness yourself without a commercial distiller. Boil off a gallon of tap water in a pot and see what residue is left. Then boil the same water after you use your filter. Reverse osmosis is an excellent filtering method. About 85%+ as good as steam distillation. (just my estimate.)

Jim Noel
14-Oct-2018, 12:56
During WWII the US Navy washed film and paper in sea water. The wash was quicker due to the extraneous elements and trace elements in the water. All that is necessary is to rinse off any possible remaining salts with distilled water.