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WHEN DOES THE PRETREATMENT PROGRAM BECOME EFFECTIVE?

The FDEP requirement for all dentist's offices that handle amalgam to pretreat their wastes becomes effective on July 14, 2020 for existing dental facilities.  The One-Time Compliance Report for Dental Dischargers must be submitted to WUD by existing facilities by October 12, 2020.  New dental facilities must have pretreatment before they can open, and must submit the One-Time Compliance Report for Dental Dischargers to WUD no later than 90 days following the initial discharge.

 

WHERE CAN I GET A COPY OF THE ONE-TIME COMPLIANCE REPORT AND TO WHOM DO I SUBMIT IT TO?

A PDF copy can be downloaded here.  The preferred method of submitting this form is via email to sebrown@pbcwater.com.  Please put "Amalgam Compliance Report" in the subject line to ensure your office receives the proper credit.  You can also mail the completed report via the United States Postal Service to: Mr. Stephen Brown, Water Utilities Department, 8100 Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33413.

 

WHAT DENTAL BUSINESSES ARE REQUIRED TO BE IN THE AMALGAM PRETREATMENT PROGRAM AND SUBMIT A ONE-TIME COMPLIANCE REPORT?

Dentists who place, remove, or replace dental amalgam. Must have pretreatment installed and operating by July 14, 2020.  The One Time Compliance Report to must be received by WUD by October 12, 2020.

 

WHAT DENTAL BUSINESSES ARE EXEMPT FROM THE AMALGAM PRETREATMENT PROGRAM?

Dental dischargers that do not place, remove or replace dental amalgam, except in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances, are exempt from any further requirements as long as they certify as such in a One-Time Compliance Report submitted to WUD.

Dental dischargers that exclusively practice one or more of the following specialties are not subject to any of the rule's requirements, including submission of a one-time compliance report to WUD:

  • Oral pathology

  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery

  • Orthodontics

  • Periodontics

  • Prosthodontics

 
Mobile units are not subject to any of the rule's requirements, including submission of a One-Time Compliance Report. A mobile unit is a specialized mobile self-contained van, trailer, or equipment used in providing dentistry services at multiple locations.

Dental facilities that do not discharge their amalgam process wastewater into the County sewer system are not subject to any of the rule's requirements, including submission of a One-Time Compliance Report to WUD. For example, dental facilities that discharge amalgam process wastewater into a septic system are not subject to this rule.

 
MY PRACTICE IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE STANDARDS IN THE RULE AND HAS SUBMITTED A ONE-TIME COMPLIANCE REPORT. IT IS NOW CHANGING OWNERSHIP. DO I OR THE NEW OWNER NEED TO SUBMIT A NEW ONE-TIME COMPLIANCE REPORT?

Yes. If a dental discharger transfers ownership of the facility, then the new owner must submit a new One-Time Compliance Report to WUD.

 

WHERE CAN I PURCHASE AN AMALGAM PRETREATMENT SYSTEM?

There are multiple vendors available.  The EPA requires that the system be compliant to ISO 11143.

 

DO I HAVE TO REPLACE MY EXISTING SEPARATOR? 
The rule allows dental dischargers that had installed and were using an amalgam separator prior to June 14, 2017 to continue to use it until June 14, 2027, as long as it is functioning properly and does not need to be replaced. This is referred to as a "grandfathering" provision or clause. The facility must still send to WUD by October 12, 2020 a completed One-Time Compliance Report.

If a dental discharger covered by the grandfather clause transfers ownership, the new owner may continue using the grandfathered separator until June 14, 2027 if it is functioning properly and does not need to be replaced. The new owner must file the One-Time Compliance Report with WUD.

 

​I HAVE A WASTEWATER RETAINING TANK TECHNOLOGY THAT COLLECTS ALL AMALGAM PROCESS WASTEWATER AND MY DENTAL FACILITY DOES NOT DISCHARGE ANY AMALGAM PROCESS WASTEWATER TO THE MUNICIPLE WASTEWATER SYSTEM. AM I EXEMPT FROM THE DENTAL OFFICE CATEGORY RULE?

Yes. As long as the dental facility does not discharge any amalgam process wastewater from the tank or otherwise, it is not subject to any of the rule's requirements, including submission of a One-Time Compliance Report.

 WHAT ARE THE RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS?

The manufacturer's operating manual and a copy of the One-Time Compliance Report submitted to WUD must be kept at the dental facility as long as the amalgam separator is used.

The following records must be kept for a minimum of three years at the dental facility:

  • For the pretreatment device, documentation of the date, person(s) conducting the inspection, results of each inspection and a summary of follow-up actions.

  • Documentation of amalgam retaining container or equivalent container replacement.

  • Documentation of all dates that collected dental amalgam and the name of the disposal facility receiving the amalgam retaining containers.

  • Documentation of any repair or replacement of an amalgam separator or equivalent device.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE INTERCEPTER UNIT (PRETREATMENT) BE CLEANED, INSPECTED AND REPAIRED?

As recommended by the manufacturer.

 

IS THE AMALGAM COLLECTED IN THE SEPARATOR CONSIDERED A HAZARDOUS WASTE UNDER THE RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA)?

Yes. The amalgam collected in a separator is likely to be a hazardous waste under RCRA due to its mercury and silver content. However, dental offices producing less than 100 kg of hazardous waste per month AND less than 1 kg of acute hazardous waste per month are considered "Very Small Quantity Generators" and are exempt from most RCRA requirements for the disposal of their hazardous waste. 

 

WHAT APPROPRIATE ACTION MUST I TAKE IF MY PRETREATMENT DEVICE FAILS?

Reference the operation manual and contact the manufacturer for repair.

 

WHAT ELSE DOES THE NEW CWA REQUIRE?

The CWA also requires dental offices that handle amalgam to use two specific Best Management Practices (BMP's).  These are:

  1. Waste amalgam including, but not limited to, dental amalgam from chairside traps, screens, vacuum pump filters, dental tools, cuspidors, or collection devices, must not be discharged to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) without pretreatment.
  2. Dental unit water lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines that discharge amalgam process wastewater to a POTW 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.

 

DOES THE PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF OXIDIZING OR ACIDIC CLEANERS IN DENTAL UNIT WATER LINES APPLY TO CLEANERS USED IN THE WATER SUPPLY LINES THAT CONNECT TO ITEMS SUCH AS HAND-PIECES, ULTRASONIC SCALERS OR AIR/WATER SYRINGES?

No.  In developing the rule, EPA did not evaluate the use of cleaning products that may be used in dental equipment that is connected to water supply lines such as hand-pieces, ultrasonic scalers, or air/water syringes. While de minimis amounts of such products may eventually be indirectly discharged through a wastewater line in a dental facility, the prohibition was not intended to prohibit dental unit water line cleaning products when those products are used in water supply lines to ensure the safety of the water that dentists place in their patient's mouth.

 

WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

Additional information can be found online at the below websites:
  
American Dental Association
https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/amalgam-separators

Environmental Protection Agency
https://www.epa.gov/eg/dental-effluent-guidelines

The New Rule
https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?mc=true&node=pt40.32.441&rgn=div5

 

If you cannot find the information you need from the above contact the Pretreatment Program Coordinator: Stephen Brown at 561-493-6025 or sebrown@pbcwater.com.