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Thread: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

  1. #11
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    The municipal water source where I live is Hetch Hetchy, the same as in San Francisco, and is an extremely good tap water source. I've used it for years to mix 5L batches of Xtol. However I have noticed a black stringy growth in the unused developer at around 6 months storage in a floating lid container - I usually finish off the 5L well before 6 months. Because of that I switched to steam distilled water and never saw that again even recently with small quality of remaining developer at 7 months out. You can buy steam distilled water at Walmart for 80 cents a gallon.

    Thomas

  2. #12
    Small town, South Carolina, US
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I have a cabinet sized distiller and have been using water from that for all cooking, drinking and developing for at least 20 years. Walmart's price is very good however.

  3. #13

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I worked in chemistry labs for too long. We did a lot of elemental analysis, specifically, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese. .... We ran the tests using atomic emission / absorption spectroscopy, pretty low tech by today's methods. We used mixed bed deionization tanks from Culligan. This removed all ions, metals, nitrates etc. The water was 10 million ohm resistance (per cubic centimeter? ) wouldn't conduct electricity, that pure.

    Zero Water pitchers use this same technology. Here's the catch, if you have a lot of TDS in your water, the Zero Water cartridges go FAST. Your water ends up costing you 5 dollars a gallon.

    I installed a RO system that I bought online, it uses generic filters that go into a canister. Basically all you replace are cheap particulate and charcoal filters, the RO membrane lasts forever. This drops my TDS from over 500 mg/l to about 20.

    The drawback of RO is it wastes water. Uses water to wash the membrane when it's making fresh RO water.

    Definitely by far the easiest thing to do is buy jugs of distilled water. I was involved in water filtration, so I have to have the toys

  4. #14

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    I wondered about my water hardness, because it just seemed like there was always a lot of residue if I ever let anything stand to dry. It turned out to be exactly normal. But still, it made me think that whatever was in there was some uncontrolled factor that just wasn't worth thinking about. I briefly considered buying a table top distiller, but that would be just one more thing to maintain, and jugs of distilled water are just too cheap and easy.

  5. #15

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by alt.kafka View Post
    I wondered about my water hardness, because it just seemed like there was always a lot of residue if I ever let anything stand to dry. It turned out to be exactly normal. But still, it made me think that whatever was in there was some uncontrolled factor that just wasn't worth thinking about. I briefly considered buying a table top distiller, but that would be just one more thing to maintain, and jugs of distilled water are just too cheap and easy.
    I operated water stills in the 1980s. They are a pain, the steam generator gets so caked with lime. We used formic acid to clean. If all you use pure water for is developers, pretty easy to buy.
    I use RO water for all my darkroom solutions. I live in extremely hard water area, we soften, but that leaves a lot of sodium carbonate in the water.
    My wife grew up in New York state, near NYC. The water in that area is so nice.

  6. #16
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    My average rainfall is 46"

    Maybe I just set barrels out

    I am in a good location to avoid airborne crap
    sin eater

  7. #17

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by karl french View Post
    I have been tempted to pick up one of those table top water distillers. Though I don't used distilled for mixing film processing chemistry, I use a fair bit of it during printmaking for clearing prints and washing brushes.
    I have such a unit (small, tabletop); creates a lot of heat and takes several hours to produce a gallon of distilled water. All supermarkets near me carry distilled water and that has become my source.
    On the other hand, when I am in Italy (mountain area), distilled water is not easily available (the drinking water is excellent) and resolved to use the same type of unit to produce distilled water: reason being that I want to keep film development the same (no variation due to water quality), whether processed there or in the USA.

  8. #18

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by Duolab123 View Post
    ...My wife grew up in New York state, near NYC. The water in that area is so nice.
    When I left the NYC area in 1978, municipal water received absolutely no treatment of any kind -- none was needed. Things seem to have changed since then:


    That probably explains why Renato uses distilled water there today:

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato Tonelli View Post
    I have such a unit (small, tabletop); creates a lot of heat and takes several hours to produce a gallon of distilled water. All supermarkets near me carry distilled water and that has become my source...

  9. #19

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    All the WalMart distilled water jugs. Plastics. No one has a problem with all that plastic going into the trash?
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  10. #20

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    Re: Xtol - Distilled vs Filtered water

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    All the WalMart distilled water jugs. Plastics. No one has a problem with all that plastic going into the trash?
    I have a problem with it - I recycle. BTW: Making your own distilled water uses quite a bit of electricity and most power plants are not very environmentally friendly.

    A note on New York City Water: I can’t speak for the quality of it - it is considered one of the safest and best, quality-wise, of big municipal waters in the US. My issue is with the pipes delivering it: in both the University darkroom I manage and my home, it must be filtered or the negatives will be blotchy with rust stains. After a week of normal use the filters are clogged with black-rust colored, thick slime. When I lived in the Bronx (still NYC water), no filter was needed; I realized now that it came from a more recently built water tunnel and the delivery plumbing was relatively new.

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