Which Dental Facilities are covered?

The MassDEP Dental Amalgam/Mercury Recycling program applies to dental practices or facilities that place or remove mercury amalgam fillings. Typically, these are general dentistry and endodontics offices. Offices that perform oral or maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, or periodontics are generally not subject to these regulations unless they also place or remove mercury amalgam fillings.

What does each Dental Facility need to do?

MassDEP's Dental Amalgam/Mercury Recycling program requires dental practices and facilities to:

  • Have installed an amalgam separator system that serves every dental chair in the practice or facility where waste amalgam is generated. The system must be one that has been demonstrated to remove at least 98 percent of the amalgam waste containing mercury (using the ISO 11143 protocol or an equivalent method acceptable to MassDEP).
  • Maintain and operate the amalgam separator system according to manufacturer specifications.
  • Use only non-corrosive and biodegradable cleaners to clean vacuum system lines.
  • Recycle all amalgam waste containing mercury.
  • Inform their staff about procedures for handling waste amalgam, and that at least one employee is familiar with procedures for operating and maintaining the installed amalgam separator system.
  • Keep records to document that the program requirements are being met.
  • File a form with MassDEP within 60 days (initially) and by March 31of every even-numbered year thereafter certifying that all of these requirements are being met.

For Voluntary Program Participants ONLY

Dentists who filed voluntarily in 2004 or 2005 (before May 1, 2005) were not required to file again until April 2, 2010 (after which they needed to by June 15 every five years). Those who filed between May 1, 2005, and April 24, 2006, were required to file again by April 2, 2007, after which they were required to file for re-certification by June 15 every five years.

These dates have changed. On September 9, 2016, the certification requirements were changed to reflect the schedule for renewal of dental licenses through the Division of Health Professional Licensure within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Dental facility certifications are now due to MassDEP on March 31 of every even-numbered year.

Separator requirements were also different for voluntary filers. While the voluntary program required that amalgam separators demonstrate achievement of 95 percent efficiency in removing waste amalgam from wastewater, the regulations now require that amalgam separators to meet a 98 percent removal efficiency standard. Facilities that participated in the voluntary program are allowed to continue using their 95 percent efficient amalgam separators, as long as the equipment continues to achieve this removal efficiency and is maintained in accordance with manufacturer instructions. When separators need to be replaced, units that meet the 98 percent removal efficiency standard must be installed.

Record Keeping

Dental practices and facilities need to keep on-site records to demonstrate their compliance with the Amalgam Wastewater & Recycling Regulations for Dental Facilities (310 CMR 73.00). Records must continue to be kept for at least five years, pursuant to 310 CMR 73.06(2). These records include: