Manufacturers and Dental Supply/Service Companies Simply Quoting the EPA Regulation may NOT Keep You Compliant – Flaws in the EPA Regulation – Part 2

Many Dental Professionals are being inundated with information about the new EPA Amalgam Separator Regulation. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting data, further confusing Dental Professionals about ensuring their compliance. For this reason, M.A.R.S writes weekly blogs to help provide clarity to the Dental Industry.

We began this blog series giving the history of the EPA Regulation, then continued to speak about how it became diluted; resulting in the flawed regulation that it is now. We continue this series discussing the Flaws in the EPA Regulation. Our last blog spoke about your local regulator, Water Treatment Plants. We gave insight on their experience and knowledge of the EPA Amalgam Separator Regulation, helping Dental Professionals better understand their regulators and what they expect from Dental Practices.

This “Flaws in the EPA Regulation” segment will be touching on the following topics;

  • “One-Time” Compliance Reports
  • EPA’s wrong “Exemptions” list

One-Time Compliance Reports

In the EPA Amalgam Separator Regulation, it requires a “One-Time” Compliance Report to be sent to your local regulator to register your office and your amalgam separator.

Unfortunately, a one-time report is unrealistic simply because of information changes. Though many uninformed Water Treatment Plants are currently following the EPA Regulation to the letter, they will learn shortly, as others already have, Water Treatment Plants will need to exceed the EPA Amalgam Separator Regulation to remain compliant.

Those well informed Water Treatment Plants know they cannot have one report to register a clinic and their amalgam separator. They understand it is an ongoing process, one that needs constant updating. Some of the following are changes in your clinic which will require you to resubmit another Compliance Report;

  • Change of ownership
  • Adding or removing staff
  • Change of hours of operation
  • Change your amalgam separator
  • Added chairs

Exemption Issues

While working with hundreds of Water Treatment Experts across North America, I learned the EPA Regulation list of exempt specialties is only harming Dental Professionals. The EPA list of exempt Dental Practices means nothing to a local regulator (Water Treatment Plants). So Dentists who contact their Dental Society looking for answers, then get told they are exempt from the Regulation, can actually get them in trouble. I had heard of some Dentists who had already applied for exemption, only to get in trouble with the local authorities when they were found discharging mercury. When you are applying for exemption, it is asking the Local Regulator to red flag your business. They will eventually test the discharge from your clinic at the sewer. If you are found polluting after applying for an exemption, it typically doesn’t end well for a Dentist. One Dentist in the North East spent roughly $20,000, bringing their clinic into compliance.

How to tell if you are Exempt?

The average Dental Practice discharges 14,300 ng/L of total mercury into our waterways. The next highest industry is Medical, with the discharge number of 390 ng/L. If you feel you do not discharge mercury and exempt from the Dental Rule, for $50, you can send a water sample to Purves Environmental, who will test the discharge from your clinic and determine if you require an amalgam separator. Purves Environmental will supply you a report, listing the discharge numbers that you can present to your local regulators.

Mercury Discharge Chart (1)

Flaws in the EPA Amalgam Separator Regulation Continued

The blog series continues, further discussing flaws in the EPA Regulation that could result in Dental Practices being found non-compliant by their local regulator. Our next blog release will be discussing how amalgam separators work and the issues with the ISO testing standards. We will also be discussing the vague evacuation line cleaner requirements of the EPA Regulation.