Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice

The Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice is a set of recommended operating procedures designed to reduce both the amount of silver and the overall volume of photographic processing solutions discharged to the drain. This guide has been written for pre-press operations, micrographics and other commercial imaging facilities.
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Limitations

The Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice does not supercede existing local regulations. Use this Guide only after the local municipality has adopted the Code of Management Practice for Silver Dischargers (CMP) into regulation. Use of this Guide where the CMP has not been adopted may cause the commercial imaging facility to be out of compliance with local regulations. Before using the Guide, each commercial imaging facility should check with the local government agency to determine its regulatory requirements. For more information contact The Silver Council.

Introduction

Photo processing effluent is a by-product of processing film. After silver recovery, this effluent is generally discharged to the drain where it goes to the publicly owned treatment works (POTW) for treatment and eventual release back to the environment. Processing solutions must not be discharged to a septic system.

Silver is the component of film and paper that makes it possible to form an image. While it’s not an ingredient of fresh solutions, during processing the silver is removed from the film and paper and goes into the solutions. Silver should be recovered from silver-rich solutions before they are discharged to the drain because:

  • silver is a non-renewable resource,
  • some sewage treatment plants (POTWs) and states restrict the amount of silver that can be discharged, and
  • silver has economic value.

A silver-rich solution is a solution that contains sufficient silver that cost-effective recovery can be done either on-site or off-site. Silver-rich solutions include fixers and may include water from recirculated washwater systems.

Effective silver recovery requires equipment that is appropriate to the size and activities of the commercial imaging facility. It also requires implementing a sound preventive maintenance program for silver recovery equipment. Providing you with this information is the primary focus of the Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice.

The principal elements of the Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice is a set of recommended operating procedures designed to reduce both the amount of silver and the overall volume of processing solutions discharged to the drain.

The other element of the Guide is voluntary pollution prevention. In addition to recovering silver efficiently, commercial imaging processors should be concerned with minimizing the amount of waste they create. Waste solutions are literally money down the drain. In cases where the solutions can’t be discharged to drain, such as when the processor discharges to a septic system, it costs money for off-site disposal. That’s why it makes sense to minimize waste in the first place. The second half of the guide details several activities a commercial imaging processor can voluntarily undertake to reduce waste and save money.

The Commercial Imaging Guide to the Code of Management Practice is a guide of industry recommended practices. It is NOT a legal requirement. It was written by people just like yourselves—people who manage imaging operations.

The Guide takes the guesswork out of determining the specific silver recovery configurations and preventive maintenance activities you need. 
To Keep Reading, Download the Guide Now (PDF) 

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