The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently established wastewater pretreatment standards to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into the sanitary sewer system. Mercury and other metals used to make dental fillings (known as "amalgam") that enters the sewer system ultimately ends up back in the environment either through discharge of reclaimed wastewater back to the surface waters or by way of land application of biosolids.
The Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) serves as the Control Authority for dental offices within the Des Moines Metropolitan Area and is the governmental entity to which the one-time compliance reports shall be sent. Dental offices that do not place or remove amalgam need only submit the Dental Discharger One-Time Compliant Report. Dental offices that do place or remove amalgam must operate and maintain an amalgam separator and must not discharge scrap amalgam or use certain kinds of drain line cleaners. They must also submit the Dental Discharger One-Time Compliance Report. Please see the American Dental Association (ADA) flow chart for requirements and due dates.
For those dental facilities affected, compliant amalgam separators must be installed by July 14, 2020.
All dental dischargers in practice prior to July 14, 2017 must file their One-Time Compliance Report by October 12, 2020 with the WRA.
For more information please visit the EPA website.