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Dental Amalgam Program Compliance
Dental Amalgam Program logoProgram Overview
Dental practices that place in or remove amalgam fillings are a controllable source of mercury entering the sanitary sewer systems. Consequently, all dental practices located in the eight cities and unincorporated areas served by the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant are required to obtain and comply with a 5-year Dental Wastewater Discharge Permit. This permit requires dental practices to install an approved amalgam separator and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs).

How to Comply
  • Apply for a Dental Wastewater Discharge Permit. Submit a Dental Wastewater Discharge Permit Application.
  • Install an ISO 11143 Certified Amalgam Separator. An approved amalgam separator must be installed within 180 days of the effective date of the discharge permit. Approved separators are those that meet the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 11143 to remove at least 95% of amalgam.
  • Implement required Best Management Practices, which include:
    • Do not use bulk liquid mercury; use only precapsulated dental amalgam.
    • Do not rinse chair-side traps, vacuum screens, or amalgam separator equipment in a sink or other sanitary sewer connection.
    • Properly discard amalgam waste. Recycling is the preferred method for discarding amalgam waste.
    • Store amalgam waste in airtight containers.
    • Train staff to properly handle and dispose of amalgam materials and solutions; training records must be available for inspection. For the full list of required BMPs, see A Dentist's Guide to the Dental Amalgam Program & Permit.
  • BMP and Amalgam Separator Installation Certification - This form is due within 90 days from the effective date of the dental practice’s Discharge Permit and certifies that the practice is following the designated BMPs and has installed an approved amalgam separator.                                
  • Keep Records - Keep training, disposal, and equipment records on site for five years, and make these records available for inspection. All records must be provided to Environmental Inspectors upon request.
  • Submit a Dental Wastewater Discharge Permit Annual Report. Electronic or Printable