Code of Management Practice Guide for Diagnostic and Industrial X-Ray Film Processors

This Guide has been written for hospitals, dental offices, chiropractic clinics, veterinary clinics and industrial X-ray film processing (i.e., nondestructive testing) facilities. It contains a set of recommended operating procedures designed to reduce the amount of silver in film processing solutions AND the overall volume of solution discharged to the drain.
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Limitations

The Code of Management Practice Guide for Diagnostic and Industrial X-Ray Film Processors does not supercede existing local regulations. Where the Code has not been adopted, relying exclusively on this Guide may cause diagnostic and industrial X-ray film processors to be out of compliance with local regulations. Therefore, before using this Guide, each diagnostic and industrial X-ray film processor should check with the local government agency to determine its regulatory requirements. For more information contact The Silver Council.

Introduction

Liquid effluent is a by-product of processing diagnostic and industrial X-ray films. 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.

Silver is the component of film that makes it possible to form an image. During processing the silver is removed from the film and goes into the fixer. While a small amount of silver may be carried over into the wash water, fixer is the only silver-rich solution produced in a diagnostic and industrial X-ray processing facility. Silver should be recovered from silver-rich solutions before they are discharged to the drain because:

  • silver is a non-renewable resource,
  • some cities/towns 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. For purposes of this guide, fixer is the only silver-rich solution produced from processing films.*

Effective silver recovery requires equipment that is appropriate to the size and activities of the diagnostic or industrial X-ray film processor. It also requires implementing a sound preventive maintenance program. Providing you with this silver recovery information is the primary focus of the Code of Management Practice Guide for Diagnostic and Industrial X-Ray Film Processors.

The principle element of the Code of Management Practice Guide for Diagnostic and Industrial X-Ray Film Processors is a set of recommended operating procedures designed to reduce the amount of silver in film processing solutions AND the overall volume of solution discharged to the drain.

The other element of the guide is voluntary pollution prevention. In addition to recovering silver efficiently, diagnostic and industrial X-ray film 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 the drain, such as when the processor discharges to a septic system, it costs money or 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 diagnostic or industrial X-ray film processor can voluntarily undertake to reduce waste and save money.

The Code of Management Practice Guide for Diagnostic and Industrial X-Ray Film Processors is an industry-recommended guide. It is NOT a legal requirement. It was written by people just like yourselves - people who manage diagnostic or industrial X-ray film processing operations. The guide takes the guesswork out of determining the specific silver recovery equipment configurations and preventive maintenance activities you need. Terms used throughout this guide are defined in the Glossary of Terms (Appendix A).

To Keep Reading, Download the Guide Now (PDF) 

*The Code of Management Practice addresses silver from film processing solutions only.

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