Who is affected?
Dentists who place or remove amalgam must install an amalgam separator and implement BMPs.
- This includes institutions, permanent or temporary offices, clinics, home offices, and Federal, state, or local government owned and operated facilities
Dentists who never place amalgam and do not remove amalgam except in limited unplanned, unanticipated circumstances (estimated to be less than 5% of removals) must certify as such but do not have to install an amalgam separator or implement the BMPs.
The following dentists are exempt from this regulation:
- Dentists that exclusively practice one or more of the following specialties: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics
- Mobile units providing services in multiple locations
- Dentists that do not discharge amalgam wastewater to the sewer, such as those that collect all amalgam process wastewater to ship off site for disposal
What is required?
Installation of an appropriately sized amalgam separator compliant with one of the following:
- ANSI American National Standard/ADA Specification 108 for Amalgam Separators (2009) with Technical Addendum (2011) or subsequent versions with a minimum 95% removal efficiency
- ISO 11143 Standard (2008) or subsequent versions with a minimum 95% removal efficiency
- An equivalent device may be used if it meets the requirements listed in 40 CFR 441.30(2)
Implementation of the following BMPs:
- Waste amalgam must not be discharged to the sewer
- Oxidizing or acidic cleaners, including but not limited to bleach, chlorine, iodine, or peroxide cleaners or cleaners with pH lower than 6 or greater than 8, must not be used to clean dental unit wastewater lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines
When is compliance required?
- Compliance and submittal of a One-Time Compliance Report is required now.
- Compliance is due upon initial discharge and a One-Time Compliance Report must be submitted within 90 days
Do not place and only remove amalgam in limited circumstances?
- Certify as such through submittal of a One-Time Compliance Report now for existing dentists and within 90 days of initial discharge for new dentists
Change of ownership?
- The new owner must submit a new One-Time Compliance Report within 90 days of the date of transfer
What happens if I don’t comply?
Regional San could take the following actions in cases of non-compliance.
- Issue enforcement actions or impose fines or penalties
- Report non-compliance to the EPA
- Inspect to determine compliance
Recordkeeping and Continuing Compliance Requirements
- Maintain the One-Time Compliance Report as long as the practice is in business or until ownership is transferred
- Maintain the following documents for a minimum of three
- Inspection records
- Documentation of amalgam retaining unit replacement
- Disposal records
- Documentation of any repair or replacement of the amalgam separator
- Manufacturer’s operating manual
- For hazardous waste questions in Sacramento County, contact the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, Environmental Compliance Division at (916) 875-8550, or in West Sacramento contact the Yolo County Environmental Health Division, Hazardous Materials Programs at (530) 666-8646.
Continuing Compliance Requirements
- Inspect the amalgam separator according to the manufacturer’s operating manual
- Repair or replace a malfunctioning amalgam separator within 10 days of being discovered
- Replace the amalgam retaining units in accordance with the manufacturer’s schedule or when it has reached the maximum level, whichever comes first
The following resources should assist you in complying with the new Dental Effluent Guidelines and provide other best management practices to reduce mercury in our environment.