The Samsung Washing Machine has a silver plate which, by electrolysis, liberates silver ions. These ions are highly toxic and kill all living micro-organisms in the washed objects. Moreover, its sterilizing effect inhibits for a month the growth of micro-organisms so that a shirt will not smell of sweat (human sweat has no odor, but its biodegradation generates smelly molecules). One of the problem is the contamination of wastewater with silver, a highly toxic heavy metal. Samsung said that only an accumulated amount of 0.05 grams of silver are released per machine and year. 20,000 machines will discharge 1 kg Ag per year, which is not a small toxic discharge. Samsung said silver-ions quickly bind to non-nano-sized structures in the water. Therefore, the threat should be minimal. I am not sure that the silver binds and is sequestered.
The critics said waste water from the Samsung washers could be released into public water systems with unknown effects. The EPA concluded the washers were killing systems that fell under its stricter pesticide regulations. In Germany, the Greens criticized that considerable amounts of silver could enter WWTP plants and seriously trouble the biologic purification process of the waste water. The problem in the WWTPs is minimal, since the Ag in the water is highly diluted, but the water is recycled and the silver accumulates in the feeding chain.
I think that Samsung' washing machine with silver ions in the water is not a very good idea. It does remind me of the Romans sterilizing wine with Pb and copper. Metals are nerve-toxic and sterilize people too. Very bad, indeed.