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EPA publishes separator guidelines

December 06, 2017 Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 1 published a series of frequently asked questions to help dentists comply with the agency's dental amalgam separator rule.

In June 2017, the EPA issued a final rule requiring most dental offices nationwide to install amalgam separators. The rule went into effect July 14 for new dental offices that discharge amalgam but compliance for most dentists will be July 14, 2020.

The rule includes some exemptions, a phase-in period for existing dental offices and considerations for dental practices that have already installed the devices.

Dental offices should contact their pretreatment control authority to determine the full extent to which the EPA requirements and others apply to their practice.

The ADA worked with the EPA for several years on the final rule and commended the agency for what it considers "a fair and reasonable approach to the management of dental amalgam waste."

Effluent Guidelines are national wastewater discharge standards developed by EPA on an industry-by-industry basis.

For more information on the rule, as well as a link to the EPA's resources on this topic, visit