Dental Amalgam Compliance Program

Dental Amalgam Wastewater Effluent Guidelines

In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Dental Effluent Guidelines (40 CFR 441) to reduce discharges of mercury-containing amalgam from dental offices to municipal sewage treatment plants. The ruling came into effect on July 14, 2017. Compliance was determined to be date-specific and requires adherence to certain specified Best Management Practices (BMPs). Dental facilities that were in existence prior to July 14, 2017, had until July 14, 2020, to comply, while facilities that started operations after the ruling took effect are required to comply immediately. In addition, dental facilities have until Oct. 20, 2020, to submit a one-time compliance report to the entity that receives and treats the wastewater that its facilities discharge.

Western‘s Dental Amalgam Compliance Program applies to facilities within its sewer service area. Find out if your business resides in Western’s sewer service area. Type in the physical address of your dental facility; if your facility appears on the map within Western’s sewer service area, your facility is applicable to Western’s Dental Compliance Program and is required to submit a mandatory one-time compliance report to Western. Use only the form provided on this webpage; the EPA form does not include California-specific requirements; therefore, should not be used. 

Please direct all inquiries about Western’s Dental Amalgam Compliance Program to Western Source Control at 951.571.7292.

Program Details 

Applicability

All dental facilities that place or remove dental amalgam as part of their regular practices will need to comply with the Dental Amalgam Rule (i.e., will be required to install an EPA-approved amalgam separator and submit the one-time compliance report by the respective due dates).

Facilities that place or remove dental amalgam ONLY in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances are not required to have an approved dental amalgam separator but must certify that their discharge occurs only in limited circumstances.

The following facilities are not anticipated to discharge dental amalgam in its wastewater and are exempt from this rule:

  • Facilities that exclusively practice one or more of the following dental specialties: 
  1. Oral Pathology 
  2. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 
  4. Orthodontics 
  5. Periodontics, and/or Prosthodontics.
  • Facilities that do not discharge dental amalgam processed wastewater to the sewer system. In such facilities, dental amalgam process wastewater is typically collected and transferred to a centralized waste treatment facility.
  • Facilities that operate solely from a mobile unit.

If your facility falls in any of the three categories above, you do not have to submit a form AND are not required to install a dental amalgam separator.

Compliance Requirements

Install an appropriately sized dental amalgam separator that is compliant with either of the following:

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) American National Standard/American Dental Association (ADA) Specification 108 for Amalgam Separators (2009) with Technical Addendum (2011) with a minimum removal efficiency of 95%
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 11143 Standard (2008) or subsequent versions with a minimum removal efficiency of 95% removal
  • An equivalent device that meets the requirements of CFR 441.30 (2)
  • Implement the BMPs outlined in 40 CFR 441.30(a) and (b).

Compliance Dates

See the table below to determine your compliance dates:


Comply by
Submit Form by
Dental facilities that were in existence before July 14, 2017, and have not had a change of ownership
July 14, 2020
Oct. 12, 2020
Dental facilities that were in existence before July 14, 2017, and have had a change of ownership since then
Immediately or provide proof of compliance
90 days of 
ownership change
Dental facilities that opened after or have had a change of ownership since July 14, 2017
Immediately
90 days after 
discharging
Submit periodic monitoring report to

Annually (by Oct. 12 
of each year)

Recordkeeping Requirements

Facilities are required to maintain the one-time compliance report as long as the practice is in business or until ownership is transferred, maintain maintenance and inspection records for a minimum of three years, and following the recordkeeping requirements outlined in 40 CFR 441.50.