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Eastman Kodak Company
Identifying and Addressing Customers' Water Quality Needs

In 2000, Kodak's hospital and medical X-ray facility film customers in France were challenged to meet new regulatory requirements for discharge to biological wastewater treatment plants. With the assistance of Kodak, they not only met the regulatory challenge but also found ways to reduce water usage.

In July 2000, France enacted a new regulation, AT2950, significantly limiting the discharge of spent photoprocessing solutions to biological wastewater treatment plants. The new regulation, which required proof of compliance by July of 2001, presented a significant challenge to France's hospitals and medical X-ray facilities. The French regulation AT2950 specifically limits:

  • wash water usage
  • chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the photographic effluent and 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)
  • silver content in effluent

Strong oxygen-demanding effluent can overload the capacity of a secondary treatment plant. Discharging improperly treated strong oxygen-demanding effluent can deplete the amount of dissolved oxygen in a receiving body of water. The COD and BOD5 are characteristics of photoprocessing effluents frequently included in sewer codes and are therefore conventional parameters that measure the "environmental load" of the effluent.

A multifunctional team, involving R&D, marketing, and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) personnel, bundled together three technologies to address the technical challenges posed by AT2950. These include:

  1. use of the environmentally-advantaged Kodak X-OMAT LE+ developer and replenisher featuring reduced COD, BOD5, and low replenishment rates
  2. implementation of the Kodak Water Saving and Treatment System on the wash water tank recirculation loop
  3. implementation of an in-line electrolytic silver recovery unit

The Kodak X-OMAT LE+ developer was designed to obtain an optimal image quality with high contrast and improved stability. Furthermore, the developer components and their levels have been selected and optimized to reduce COD and BOD5. In turn, the design and the developer stability improvement allow a thorough optimization of replenishment rates. Reduced COD and BOD5 and optimized replenishment rates make the X-OMAT LE+ a developer that assists customers in complying with AT2950.

The graph below illustrates the performance of Kodak X-OMAT LE+ (LE+) and two other conventional developers - Kodak RP X-OMAT EX (RP EX) and Kodak RP X-OMAT (RP).

Additionally, Kodak developed the Water Saving and Treatment System to control silver content in wash water and to prevent biogrowth despite reduced wash water usage. As illustrated in the diagram below, the innovative treatment technology fulfills two key functions:

  1. traps silver to reduce silver concentration in wash water
  2. utilizes biocide to prevent biogrowth.

In combination with an in-line electrolytic silver recovery unit, these innovative technologies comprise a system to assist customers in complying with AT2950 while ensuring optimal image quality. For the hospitals and clinics that implement it, this system represents substantial savings in terms of water usage, processing solutions usage, and silver recovery.

Module 1