Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Office Category

dental fillingsThe National Pretreatment Program requires industrial dischargers that discharge to Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) to comply with pretreatment standards.

On June 14, 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) adopted national technology-based pretreatment standards for the Dental Industry aimed at reducing mercury discharges from dental offices into POTWs, thereby decreasing the amount of mercury pollution entering the nation’s waters. The Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Category, codified in 40 CFR Part 441 – Dental Office Point Source Category, requires dental offices to install compliant amalgam separators and adhere to specific best management practices (BMPs) recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA):

  • IF they discharge to the sanitary sewer system
  • AND place and remove amalgam at that office

This Rule Applies to:

Dental dischargers to POTWs from offices where the practice of dentistry is performed, including large institutions such as dental schools and clinics; permanent or temporary offices, home offices, and facilities; and including dental offices owned and operated by federal, state, or local governments including military bases.

This Rule Does NOT Apply to:

  • Dental dischargers to POTWs from offices that exclusively practice one or more of the following dental specialties: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics.
  • Dental dischargers to POTWs from offices that do not place dental amalgam, and do not remove dental amalgam except in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances (i.e., remove amalgam in less than five percent (5%) of its procedures)
  • Dental dischargers to POTWs from mobile dental units
    Dental dischargers that do not discharge to POTWs (i.e. discharge to septic systems or collect all dental amalgam process wastewater for off-site disposal)