Photographic and X-Ray Equipment
For X-ray equipment in particular, turn off the cooling water flow when the unit is
not in use.
To reduce the water use associated with traditional photographic or X-ray equip-
ment, the primary retrofit option is to install a recycling system, which recycles the
final rinse effluent as make-up for the developer/fixer solution.
An automatic shut-
off valve can also be installed to turn off the flow of water when the unit is not in use.
For these retrofits, it is essential to follow prescribed maintenance schedules in order
to maintain water savings.
When looking to purchase new photographic or X-ray equipment or to replace older
equipment, consider digital X-ray and photography equipment and computerized
laser or ink-jet printing options.
If transitioning to digital equipment is not feasible, look for equipment with a squee-
gee that removes excess chemicals from the film. The squeegee can reduce chemi-
cal carryover and the amount of water needed for the wash cycle.
If replacing a
traditional wet printing, high-rinse flow system, consider a mini-lab system. Mini-labs
provide a “washless” or “plumbingless” film development process. In these systems,
wet chemical solutions are added only as needed for the amount of film being pro-
cessed. A reservoir captures spent chemical solutions, which can be recovered and
It should be noted that mini-labs do not work for large frame X-ray film.
They are for small camera picture prints only.
Replacing traditional X-ray film processing equipment with digital imaging equip-
ment will eliminate water use entirely, but it might not be cost-effective for every
facility due to the high cost of the new equipment. Digital equipment, however,
provides other advantages in addition to water savings, such as ease of use and im-
age transfer and storage.
If converting to digital imaging is not feasible, retrofitting
existing equipment to recycle the final rinse effluent as make-up for the developer/
fixer solution can be a cost-effective option.
Retrofitting traditional X-ray equipment with a recycling system has been shown to
save 500,000 to 1,600,000 gallons of water per year per X-ray film processor,
on studies conducted by several water utilities in California.
Alliance for Water Efficiency. X-ray Film Processors Introduction.
Koeller, John, et al. August 2004.
A Report on Potential Best Management Practices
Prepared for the California Urban Water Conservation Council. Pages 16-22.