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Marla
02-20-2002, 10:19 AM
I read on here often that a lot of you wash out your oil brushes with soap under running water. I use water-soluble oil paints so I too wash with soap and water and was letting the pigment go down the drain until I bought a book called Painting With Water-Soluble Oils by Sean Dye. This is what he has to say...
"Disposal is always a problem with oil pigments. It is not a good idea to wash brushes and hands and then let the dirty water go down the drain. This pigmented water will not simply disappear. If the chemicals go to a septic tank, they may end up in ground water. If you are connected to a municipal sewer, the chemicals could end up in lakes and streams. Many artists now rinse their brushes and dump the rinse water into a plastic bottle or barrel with a tight fitting cap. These containers can then be taken to local hazardous waste drop-offs for a small fee. Some experts believe that letting the water evaporate and disposing of the dried pigment that cakes at the bottom of the rinse bucket is safe for landfills."

We have a septic tank and well so I'm afraid it will end up in our water. But now I have to save milk containers and use a funnel to pour in the rinse water. It's a pain but worth it I guess. I'm wondering if anyone else does this.

guillot
02-20-2002, 10:26 AM
I must say Marla, I've never taken that into consideration. I usually make sure though that most of the gunk is off my brush before I commence with water and soap (but I use a citrus cleaner instead of soap). So, if there is any pigment going down my sink, it's not very much of it!


:angel:


Tina

Wayne Gaudon
02-20-2002, 10:44 AM
.. there's an eye opener .. I like the idea of just letting it evaporate cause the bits and pieces wouldn't add up to much and it would take you a long long time to fill a smaller size can with the gunk that stays after evaporation.

G.L. Hoff
02-20-2002, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by Marla
I read on here often that a lot of you wash out your oil brushes with soap under running water. I use water-soluble oil paints so I too wash with soap and water and was letting the pigment go down the drain until I bought a book called Painting With Water-Soluble Oils by Sean Dye. This is what he has to say...
"Disposal is always a problem with oil pigments. It is not a good idea to wash brushes and hands and then let the dirty water go down the drain. This pigmented water will not simply disappear. If the chemicals go to a septic tank, they may end up in ground water. If you are connected to a municipal sewer, the chemicals could end up in lakes and streams. Many artists now rinse their brushes and dump the rinse water into a plastic bottle or barrel with a tight fitting cap. These containers can then be taken to local hazardous waste drop-offs for a small fee. Some experts believe that letting the water evaporate and disposing of the dried pigment that cakes at the bottom of the rinse bucket is safe for landfills."

We have a septic tank and well so I'm afraid it will end up in our water. But now I have to save milk containers and use a funnel to pour in the rinse water. It's a pain but worth it I guess. I'm wondering if anyone else does this.

I think you need a bit of perspective here. First, not all pigments are hazardous. The earth colors (umbers, siennas, ochres, etc) are not hazardous at all--they come from the earth. Many binders that are used with those pigments--oils and gums (both of which are edible)--are also not hazardous. I can't speak to acrylic resins being hazardous or not--just don't know. Now, some mineral pigments (e.g. lead, cadmiums) can be hazardous if they reach certain levels in drinking water, but municipal treatment plants monitor those and remove the hazardous materials. That leaves certain organics that may or may not be monitored and removed. So, the question, then, is whether it's worth to take these extraordinary precautions. If you have a septic tank and you're using lots of truly hazardous materials, then sure, take those precautions. But if not, I don't see it as a big issue.

Oh, and I have a modicum of expertise--in my other life I'm a physician.

Regards

Scott Methvin
02-20-2002, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by Marla
I Painting With Water-Soluble Oils by Sean Dye. This is what he has to say...
"Disposal is always a problem with oil pigments. It is not a good idea to wash brushes and hands and then let the dirty water go down the drain. This pigmented water will not simply disappear. If the chemicals go to a septic tank, they may end up in ground water. If you are connected to a municipal sewer, the chemicals could end up in lakes and streams. Many artists now rinse their brushes and dump the rinse water into a plastic bottle or barrel with a tight fitting cap. These containers can then be taken to local hazardous waste drop-offs for a small fee.

Jeeeeze.

Now I've heard everything. Our society has lost it's mind. I imagine our kids are going to grow up afraid of everything.

I agree with the post above. Well said doctor.

Marla
02-20-2002, 01:50 PM
C'mon guys...Don't attack me! I just posted the info I have in case anyone else with a septic tank might like to prevent pigment from ending up in their ground water. Really I just wanted to know if anyone has concerns too. I didn't intend to lay a guilt trip on anyone.:) If I didn't have a septic and well I'd still be rinsing it down the drain! I don't enjoy the extra work. Maybe I read too much and I'm too paranoid. There are so many things about oil painting that you have to be concerned over.

lori
02-20-2002, 02:37 PM
as an oil painter who works in large formats, i have always saved my used turp in buckets then recycled what i could, and disposed of the rest by contacting hazardous waste facilities. this is the way that i was taught to dispose of the excess by-product of my work. however, i'm talking about collecting a year's worth of sludge in a bucket.

i clean my brushes with turp first for the excess, then ugly dog with water...i use it in the sink...i can't help it, but that is the way i have always worked, and i can't imagine saving the water that i use too! besides by the time i'm actually washing the brushes, they are pretty much clean and the excess is minimal.

but the left-over turp...thats another story, and if you don't have a waste bucket in your studio, i recommend one...no matter what size you paint. oh, and i also keep a SEALED can for my old paint rags. it is important to seal the can because of spontaneious combustion...which is know to happen at about the same rate as as lightneing striking! lol...

but better save then sorry...

what do you people do with your old turp and rags then????

guillot
02-20-2002, 02:50 PM
Hi Lori,

I do the same with my rags: in a sealed bucket. A friend of mine actually had that "lightning" strike them once............ever since, I've kept mine sealed.

And, by the time I wash my brushes in the sink, there is minimal pigment left in the brush. And like DOC HOFF mentioned, most of the pigments are safe. When I first started painting in oils, if I ever worried about anything when it came to my sink, it was that I would clog it or something.

I do the same with my turp too. After the pigment settles in the bottom of my brush/wash bucket, I drain the good turp off and re-use. But, I don't save the sludge.........:( That eventually goes into the trash.

Marla - don't feel like anyone is attacking you for goodness sake! Sometimes it is easy in here to feel that way, but all intentions are good!! :angel:

Tina

paintfool
02-20-2002, 02:59 PM
Marla! How very nice to see you!!! My computer crashed some time back and i never did recover your email address. :( Hope all is well with you.
I have a septic tank and am on a well so i've always been concious of what goes into my ground. I don't believe that the minimal amount of toxins such as washing brushes with oil paint on them or that have been in turps is enough to cause any real harm. I too store my used rags in a sealed container. I use an old coffee can but there are cans that you can purchase from the auto parts store for this purpose as well. Our town holds an amnesty day several time per year. On these days you can take your used turps and rags to various locations for disposal. I take advantage of that! As i've said, the small amount that is washed down the drain in simple clean up should not be an issue but i do appreciate anyone giving thoughts to this. It's important to protect our environment.
Cheryl

Scott Methvin
02-20-2002, 04:06 PM
Maria,

Sorry if you took offence. None intended.

All this eco-art stuff just drives me up the wall.

Consider what happens to the raw sewage from the city of Chicago...they have giant pipes that send it miles out into Lake Michigan. LA sends theirs out the same way into the beautiful pacific ocean.

I guess if you use a well, then ground water is a concern. If you put it in a sealed container and sent old cadmium and lead paint off in the garbage, that would make sense. Washing brushes isn't going to do anything. Unless you have a painting factory and pour gallons of mineral spirits and terpenoid into the ground on a daily basis.

Also make sure the outhouse is downhill.:)

G.L. Hoff
02-20-2002, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by Marla
C'mon guys...Don't attack me!

Hi, Marla--

Sorry if my reply sounded like attack mode...seriously not intended that way. Only reason I mentioned my "day job" is so you'd know whereof I speak...

Regards

G.L. Hoff
02-20-2002, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by lori
but the left-over turp...thats another story...what do you people do with your old turp and rags then????

I use paper towelling and send it to landfill. But rags and old turps (I use mineral spirits) I treat just like you do, Lori.

Regards

Marla
02-20-2002, 07:35 PM
I'm not really offended but thanks for your concern.:) I know how this board can get sometimes. I just wanted everyone to know that I didn't write the caution of disposal but I do follow it because I use water soluble oils. To me it seems like a large amount of pigment is in the rinse water. I probably wouldn't worry so much if I used mineral spirits or turps to wash them out first.

I now have a studio, well a small bedroom to paint in unlike when I first started painting. I used to have to paint in the family room which has a gas log, no way to ventilate the area so I switched to water solubles to feel safer. I miss using traditional oils. Now that I'm in my studio I could open the windows but it's too cold out so here I am still struggling because I use these oils that are tough to work with when you need them nice and thin and to work on large areas but loved the clean up until I read the book I mentioned. Now the fun of easy clean up is replaced with filling milk jugs with my dirty water collected in a big plastic tub. But I do this since I don't use solvents to clean out most of the paint first. So what do you guys/gals think...is it still not enough to worry over? Again I will mention we have a septic and well.

Hello Cheryl! A long time huh! I wondered what happened to you. Thanks for mentioning it. I should have wrote you. Haven't had much to write about. Same ol' stuff going on.