Thank you for following this Blog Series on the information required when considering EPA compliance. Our last blog spoke about who to contact when finding your local requirements. Today we will be outlining the questions and answers you need to make an informed decision on the amalgam separator that will suit the needs of your Dental Practice.
EPA Compliance- Be Informed
There are different types of amalgam separators to choose from and many factors to consider when selecting the right amalgam separator for your Practice.
Guarantee of Compliance
In Part 1 of this Blog Series, we briefly discussed getting some kind of assurance of compliance from an amalgam separator manufacturer. With the change of technology, comes the change in standards; a Written Guarantee will save your Dental Practice from having to reinvest in better technology. If the amalgam separator you are considering does not offer a written guarantee to comply with current and future EPA compliance standards, it may be best to find one that does.
Amalgam Separator Maintenance
Though most amalgam separators function under the same principle of sedimentation, each system takes a different approach. These different approaches to amalgam separation mean each system has their own set of maintenance and inspection standards. It is a part of the EPA’s bare minimum requirements for an office to educate themselves about the required maintenance of their amalgam separator and keep detailed logs on record of any maintenance or required inspection.
It is a part of the ISO standards for an amalgam separator manufacturer to provide required maintenance and inspection schedules in their user manuals. Good systems require no maintenance, no inspections for up to 3 years. Most systems require weekly inspections and semi-annual maintenance. Be sure you read the user manuals of the considered amalgam separator before making a decision.
A Dental Professional has to be careful not to fall into creative marketing traps. Very few amalgam separator manufacturers guarantee their specific advertised service lives. Many manufacturers offer vague service schedules with no guarantee.
If an amalgam separator is advertised to service a 1-10 chair practice for 12 months or when it is full, be leery of the actual costs. A 1 chair practice may last 12 months; a 10 chair practice will certainly not. Be sure to ask for more accurate service schedules.
Some manufactures skew the pricing of their system to hide their true costs. Some marketing tricks to watch out for;
1) Offering a “Free” or “Discounted” amalgam separator
- Many filtered based amalgam separators run on the Gillette Principal. The actual money maker is the revenue generated from their filters, rather than the money generated on the sales of their units.
2) Hidden Costs
- When purchasing an amalgam separator, inquire about what is included in the purchase price. Sometimes the recycling and shipping at the end of the service life of the unit will require further investment in your amalgam separator costs.
Don’t be stuck on price, look at the features of each amalgam separator you are considering. Cost of an amalgam separator is high on the criteria list, but a system which costs a little more could come with extra features that can tip the scales in its favour.
Some system can have a very inexpensive overall cost but require daily maintenance and inspections. Other amalgam separators can be slightly more expensive but require no maintenance and no inspection for up to 3 years. The decision will have to be based on your preference and willingness to do the work.
Short on Time?
If you do not have the means or time to research the best amalgam separator for your practice, read our next blog. The last segment of this Blog Series will be reviewing the best options in amalgam separation for Dental Professionals.