Dental Amalgam Program
On July 14, 2017, the U.S. EPA promulgated the Dental Effluent Guidelines to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTW) (e.g., water reclamation plant and sewer system). The Dental Office Category regulation can be found in 40 CFR Part 441. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=8cd479a3a836f1837caa08f7630d8698&mc=true&node=pt40.32.441&rgn=div5
The U.S. EPA website can provide additional information about the dental amalgam program. https://www.epa.gov/eg/dental-effluent-guidelines
What is Dental Amalgam?
Dental amalgam is the mixture of mercury, silver, tin, copper which is used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay.
What is a Dental Discharger?
Dental discharger means a facility where the practice of dentistry is performed, including, but not limited to, institutions, permanent or temporary offices, clinics, home offices, and facilities owned and operated by Federal, state or local governments, that discharges wastewater to a POTW.
Who is Exempted from this Rule?
This rule does not apply to dental dischargers that exclusively practice one or more of the following dental specialties:
- Oral pathology
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery
** If your dental facility is one which is exempted from this rule, follow this link: Dental Discharges Exempt Report
Existing Dental Offices
- Dental offices that did not have an amalgam separator installed before July 14, 2017, must have a separator that meets the requirements of the rule in service by July 14, 2020.
- Existing amalgam separators placed in service before July 14, 2017 may be operated for their lifetime or ten years, whichever comes first.
- When a separator needs replacement, or the ten-year period has ended and the separator does not meet the standard of the final rule, a dental office must replace it with one that meets the requirements of the final rule.
New Dental Offices
The compliance date for new dental offices ("new sources") is the effective date of the rule: July 14, 2017.
Best Management Practices
Dental dischargers regulated under the Dental Amalgam Rule must implement the following EPA Best Management Practices:
- Waste amalgam including, but not limited to, dental amalgam from chair-side traps, screens, vacuum pump filters, dental tools, cuspidors, or collection devices, must not be discharged to a POTW (e.g., municipal sewage system).
- Dental unit water lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines that discharge amalgam process wastewater to a publicly owned treatment works (e.g., municipal sewage system) must not be cleaned with oxidizing or acidic cleaners, including but not limited to bleach, chlorine, iodine and peroxide that have a pH lower than 6 or greater than 8 (i.e. cleaners that may increase the dissolution of mercury).
Existing and new sources must submit the appropriate One-Time Compliance Report to the City of Dayton Industrial Pretreatment Office. New sources must submit the completed One-Time Compliance Report Form within 90 days following the introduction of wastewater to the POTW. For existing sources, the One-Time Compliance Report Form must be submitted no later than October 12, 2020, or 90 days after a transfer of ownership.
** If your dental facility is one that is NOT exempted from the rule and does place or remove dental amalgam, follow this link: Dental Dischargers with Amalgam Process Wastewater one-time compliance report
Emergency Amalgam Placement/Removal Standards
Dental dischargers that place or remove amalgam in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances are not required to install amalgam separators or follow the EPA Best Management Practices. The completed One-Time Compliance Report Form must be submitted no later than October 12, 2020, or 90 days after a transfer of ownership.
** If your dental facility is one that is NOT exempted from the rule and does not place or remove dental amalgam at all or except in limited emergency or unplanned circumstances, follow this link: Dental Dischargers without Amalgam Process Wastewater one-time compliance report