The M.A.R.S Difference: Amalgam Separator Maintenance Part 2

The M.A.R.S Difference: Amalgam Separator Maintenance Part 2

Today’s blog is a continuation of our last blog on illustrating amalgam separator maintenance the importance of knowing the advantages, disadvantages, maintenance, inspections and failure points of each amalgam separator. Today we will be just focusing on one of the worse infractions committed by a non-M.A.R.S Certified Amalgam Separator Specialist.

Below is the most recent example of an infraction we call a Triple Threat. Luckily Paige McCutcheon of Dental Fix Calgary was there to save the Dental Practice.

The Amalgam Separator Maintenance Triple Threat

An unfortunate, but a common mistake made by standard Technicians was caught by M.A.R.S Certified Technician, Paige McCutcheon of Dental Fix Calgary. This busy nine chair practice was complaining of suction issues, even after their typical Service Technician had been in to “fix” the problem. Upon entering the mechanical room, Paige discovered some troubling issues.

1) System By-Passed

amalgam separator maintenance

The picture above shows how Paige had found this office’s mechanical room after their previous Technician “Fixed” the suction problems. Due to the lack of regular maintenance and inspection performed on the filter type amalgam separator, the system clogged, causing suction issues for the Practice. The solution provided by the standard Technician was to bypass the amalgam separator, leaving the office completely non-compliant. To add to this standard Technician’s mistake, he did not seal the failed amalgam separator, exposing the office to methylmercury. The standard Technician left this office running non-compliant for weeks, without notifying the owner of the Practice about the temporary “solution.”bypass corrected

To bring the office to compliance, Paige correctly connected the neglected amalgam separator, allowing the system to capture the toxic material in the upper chamber. Paige’s temporary solution maintained the office current suction levels but kept them compliant until he could upgrade them to a M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS.

2) Poor Installation

Install 1A couple of days after Paige had fixed the mistakes that left this office non-compliant, he returned to upgrade the Practice to the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS. Being a M.A.R.S Certified Technician, Paige did not just switch out the old failed system for a LibertyBOSS, he corrected the entire installation.


In the image above you will see in the “before” photo, the overly complicated plumbing on the inlet line from the chairs. Paige reduced the 90-degree elbows and unnecessary pipes to streamline the inlet installation of the LibertyBOSS.


The old installation had a plumber’s wye splitting the outlet of the filter based amalgam separator between two suction pumps. Whoever installed the amalgam separator did not understand, having the wye vertically instead of horizontally would cause some suction issues, as it does not evenly distribute the flow of water between both pumps. Based on this layout, the suction pump on the ground will be receiving all the discharge, while the suction pump on top will be receiving very little of the discharge.

Paige’s install reconfigured the wye to have it installed horizontally, splitting the flow from the outlet of the LibertyBOSS evenly between both suction systems.

3) Illegal Storage of Toxic Waste

There are two parts to amalgam separator maintenance, service, and disposal. It is excellent if your Service Technician properly maintains your amalgam separator, but that is only half of the job. The problem is, many Service Technicians are not following through and ensuring the proper disposal of used amalgam separators.

In this practice, Paige had found five full filters that had not been sent for recycling. Many local regulators require a used amalgam separator to be disposed of within 3 -12 months. If a Practice is found with a spent amalgam separator being held on premises longer than the allowed time, local authorities may see it as illegally storing toxic waste, which could result in hefty fines. Being a Certified Amalgam Separator Specialist, Paige knew those used filters needed to be dealt with promptly. He called M.A.R.S Bio-Med to help his clients deal with their storage of toxic waste.


To ensure your office is compliant, runs at peak efficiency and keeps your office safe from exposure, contact a M.A.R.S Certified Amalgam Separator Specialist.


The M.A.R.S Difference: Evacuation Line Cleaners

There are too many different types of line cleaners on the market. How can you tell which is good and which is bad? Do they work? Are they compliant? Will they damage my equipment?

Read our next blog to find out how a M.A.R.S Certified Technician can answer those questions and more.

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