If your dental practices are without amalgam separators, the deadline to comply is under a month away.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s rule for the separator, which was published in 2017, will go into effect July 14, 2020.
The rule mandates dental facilities must collect waste amalgam, screens, vacuum pump filters, and other instruments or collection devices. It also prohibits line cleaners that have a pH level under 6 or higher than 8.
Exemptions are extended to facilities that certify that they do not place or remove amalgam except in limited circumstances.
The EPA is concerned about the discharge of mercury from dental offices that can make its way into treated wastewater, rivers, and other bodies of water.
Amalgam separators are designed to capture mercury before discharge so it can be stored appropriately, recycled, or disposed.
The State of California has additional guidelines for proper disposal.
Practices who have not yet complied should reach out for the availability of technicians and installation appointments to meet the July 14 deadline.
Even those practices that already installed amalgam separators before 2017 must replace the device by June of 2027.
To learn more about FAQs, including answers to questions about expectations, documents, record-keeping procedures, and other requirements, visit the California Dental Association’s resources here.