A ruling to reduce the mercury load into publicly owned treatment works (POTW) for waste water has been proposed by the EPA.
This will require the implementation of the best management practices (BMP), including the use of amalgam separators on or before sewer discharge lines. Amalgam separators that are certified to satisfy ISO standard 11143 are a key component of BMP’s as published by the ADA.
Studies measuring the mercury load in sewer lines (at the street level), both before and immediately after dental offices, have shown more than 100% increase in mercury levels immediately downstream from dental offices. This study shows that 50% of the total load handled by POTW may be attributed to dental offices.
The rule would, also, allow grandfathering of existing separator systems. It would only require the normal routine maintenance (e.g. cartridge changes as indicated by the separator mfr.), rather than routine testing of waste lines.
It was announced by the EPA, in part, to encourage early adoption of amalgam separators certified under ISO standard 11143. Any separator installed prior to implementation of the rule will not be required to be replaced for the life of the separator. The ruling will start being implemented by the EPA in September of this year.
If the EPA implements this new rule on schedule, it will not replace local regulations that might be more restrictive. Click here to determine if you already have an amalgam separator requirement where you practice.
The EPA’s complete announcement can be seen here.
For those Canadians reading this post, this is old news to you. It is already something you have implemented. You can read more about your regulations here.