This program helps reduce the amount of mercury that Massachusetts dental practices and facilities release into the environment.
Guide MassDEP Dental Amalgam/Mercury Recycling Program
Table of Contents
News & Updates
MassDEP has amended its April 2020 guidance on filing dental amalgam separator certifications during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Effective August 12, 2020, the agency will treat as timely any 2020 dental amalgam separator certification that is filed by November 1, 2020. See the guidance here.
Dental facilities and practices remain subject to all other program compliance requirements as specified in 310 CMR 73.00. MassDEP expects all regulated entities to continue operating in a manner that is safe and protective of both public health and the environment. MassDEP will coordinate with other agencies and authorities with shared jurisdiction over a regulated entity's environmental compliance obligations.
MassDEP has proposed amendments to 310 CMR 73.00, the regulations that govern the Dental Amalgam/Mercury Recycling Program. The revisions would exempt dental facilities that certify annually or biennially to local publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) with EPA-approved pretreatment programs from duplicative MassDEP certification requirements and fees. Learn more.
About the Dental Program
Dental practices and clinics release a significant amount of mercury into the environment when they dispose of waste from amalgam fillings in the trash or down the drain.
The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in 2005 implemented a voluntary program in cooperation with the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) to encourage early installation and use of amalgam separators by dentists.
In 2006, with input from MDS, individual dentists and other stakeholders, the agency issued regulations requiring most dental practices and facilities in Massachusetts to:
- Install and operate amalgam separator systems,
- Recycle mercury-containing amalgam wastes, and
- Periodically certify their compliance with these requirements.
Follow the links in Additional Resources below to learn more about University of Massachusetts research that confirmed amalgam separator technologies are effective at removing most mercury from dental wastewater.
Additional Resources for About the Dental Program
Specific Program Requirements
MassDEP requires Massachusetts dental practices or facilities that place or remove mercury amalgam fillings to:
- Install amalgam separator systems that remove at least 98 percent of amalgam waste containing mercury (using the ISO 11143 protocol or an equivalent method) and serve all dental chairs where amalgam waste is generated.
- Maintain and operate amalgam separator systems according to manufacturer specifications.
- Use only biodegradable disinfectants and non-corrosive, non-oxidizing cleaners in vacuum system lines and drains connected to amalgam separators.
- Recycle all mercury-containing amalgam wastes they generate.
- Inform staff about the procedures for handling waste amalgam and ensure that at least one employee is familiar with separator system operation and maintenance.
- Keep records of separator system maintenance and service, as well as amalgam waste shipments, to document compliance with program requirements.
- Submit a compliance certification form to MassDEP within 60 days of initial separator system installation and by March 31 of every even-numbered year thereafter.
See the regulations and best practices in Additional Resources below for more specific information.
Additional Resources for Specific Program Requirements
Amalgam Separator System Suppliers
This list of companies that manufacture or market amalgam separator systems is provided for your reference only. Inclusion on this list does not constitute MassDEP approval of these systems, nor does it guarantee that they will remove at least 98 percent of amalgam waste containing mercury from wastewater, as required by 310 CMR 73.00.
AB Dental Trends
METASYS Group (USA Agent)
American Dental Accessories, Inc.
R&D Services Inc.
Crosstex International Inc.
Updated August 2019
Amalgam Mercury Recycling & Recyclers
To safely recycle dental amalgam waste that contains mercury:
- Accumulate and store it in an air-tight container with a secure lid until you have collected enough for shipment to a reclamation facility or recycler.
- Send it directly to a recycling facility that has obtained the proper environmental approvals in the state where it is located. MassDEP can confirm the compliance status of Massachusetts facilities.
- You may use a common carrier (e.g., U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, or other shipping company) to transport amalgam waste.
The following companies accept dental amalgam waste for recycling.
|Bethlehem Apparatus Co.
890 Front Street
P.O. Box Y
Hellertown, PA 18055
181 East Halsey Road
Parsippany, NJ 07054
|Dental Eco Service (USA Agent)
2530 Kirby Circle Unit 301302
Palm Bay, FL 32905
|WM Mercury Waste Inc.
21211 Durand Avenue
Union Grove, WI 53182
Updated October 2020
Who Needs to Certify & When
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.
Additional Resources for Who Needs to Certify & When
How to File Your Certification
This MassDEP compliance certification program changed on February 1, 2020. Please follow the instructions below:
- Review the Dental Certification Form Instructions in Additional Resources below.
- Login to eDEP Online Filing. Note: If you are a new eDEP user, you will need to create an account first.
- After login, click Forms, then Business Sectors, then the Start Transaction button corresponding to the Dental Amalgam/Mercury Recycling Certification.
- Section A of the form:
a. Only select 'Yes' on Question 8 if your facility discharges wastewater to one of the following POTWs: Chicopee Water Pollution Control, MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority), Town of Webster Sewer Department, Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District, Westborough Wastewater Treatment Plant. Next, you shall select the appropriate POTW from the dropdown list for Question 9 and you will skip all questions in Sections B through H. Please note: If you discharge wastewater to one of the listed POTWs, you do not pay the fee to MassDEP.
b. If you do not discharge to one of the POTWs listed above, select 'No' on Question 8 and skip question 9. You will then be required to complete the entire MassDEP dental amalgam certification form and pay the $200 fee by credit card.
- Complete all required questions, consistent with Step 4 above.
- Pay the $200 fee by credit card, if applicable.
- Click the orange Submit button to complete your certification.
Important: You have not finished the certification if you have not clicked the orange Submit button.