PVC OK for Darkroom Plumbing?

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I'm installing my darkroom at home, and have a pretty simple question: will PVC plumbing be ok for my sink if I'll be doing Pt/Pd and silver processes using pyro, amidol and pretty standard darkroom chemicals? Anything that I might ever be likely to use in the silver and alt process universe that is NOT ok with PVC? If so, should I be using copper? ABS?

Thanks in advance,


-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), April 14, 2001


Are you asking about the water supply or the drain pipe? In many areas of the US PVC is not acceptable on water supply lines, you must use either CPVC or copper. For the drain pipes I have found PVC acceptable. If you look at chemical charts you will see PVC good for most chemicals. If it is going down the drain it should be highly diluted anyway. Think about the fact that whatever you dump in the sink is already in contact with the sink. Beyond the darkroom it will most likely be in PVC piping regardless of what you install. For fresh water I have used copper which is fine. If you worry about fumes or splashing corroding the copper from the outside, rethink what you are doing. You skin and lungs are being exposed to the same fumes.

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), April 14, 2001.

You may not have much of a choice depending on the local code requirements for plumbing fixtures. I believe that most newer homes are equipped with PVC, but check yiur local code.

Also, check to see what type of material is currently in place. If you already have PVC based plumbing, it may not matter what you use at the sink bottom--eventually your waste will hit PVC. As far as specific chemicals and specific type of plumbing, it seems to be more a question of your disposal process. In a process like Ilforchrome, for example, the chemicals are combined as one waste product which is purported to be safe with standard plumbing. Other chemicals are ok depending upon the amount of water that is used to flush the material. I hope this helps.


-- Dave Willison (dwillisart@aol.com), April 14, 2001.

I'd also recommend "soft-plumbing" everything you can. Use flexible hosing wherever possible to allow you to move things around a bit when new equipment needs space. Make sure to use hi pressure rated hoses for hot and cold supplies. Good luck Nathan, sounds like you're puttin' in a doozy.

-- trib (linhof6@hotmail.com), April 14, 2001.

Nathan, As a homeowner you are your own boss. Unless you expect the health or enviromental department to show up at your house you can do about anything you want. PVC is all I used in my darkroom. If I ever sell or go somewhere else it is a simple process to cut and remove everthing and use it over at the new location. Go with PVC. Doug

-- Doug Theall (rooster_two@yahoo.com), April 14, 2001.

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