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Part 1: Contemporary dental amalgam waste management...It’s not just about the amalgam separator anymore!

Categories: Waste Management

Author(s): Lisa Dowst-Mayo, RDH, BSDH, MHA

Date: 12-01-2021 20:30:00 pm


The United States Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) estimates over 5 tons of mercury and other metals present in a dental amalgam are contaminating publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Due to these findings, the EPA issued a new ruling (40 CFR Part 441) in November 2017 that mandated more stringent requirements for the removal of amalgam from dental dischargers into POTW. Existing dental facilities had until July 14, 2020, to implement the new requirements mandated by the EPA. 

It is no longer enough to simply install an amalgam separator; the ruling goes much further. Dental providers must maintain ongoing record keeping and reporting through specific documentation. Multiple best practice standards are required such as reporting third party services, ensuring minimum removal efficiency, and maintaining water lines with appropriate cleaners. 

With so many requirements and differing products on the market, it can be difficult for the busy dental practitioner to ensure compliance with this comprehensive ruling. This course will review the methodology of the EPA ruling, discuss the difference in regulated versus non-regulated waste, break down water line cleaning, and present an amalgam waste maintenance plan that ensures compliance with the EPA ruling.

Learning Objectives
After completing this webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Realize the importance of stewardship of amalgam waste management to protect the aquatic environment and food chain through the EPA rule 40 CFR Part 441.
  • Identify regulated from non-regulated dental waste.
  • Select a line cleaner in compliance with the EPA rule 40 CFR Part 441 that preserves the life of a vacuum system while maximizing the life of an amalgam separator.
  • Implement a maintenance plan in your dental facility which includes the use of an amalgam separator, amalgam waste collection, line cleaning, documentation, and tracking of amalgam recycling. 
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