Have You Installed Your Amalgam Separator?

Have You Installed Your Amalgam Separator?

By Dr. Tom Murray

For most of us dentists, the regulation deadline for installation of an Amalgam Separator is July 14, 2020. For new “Source Generators,” “Transfer Generators” and those that do not place or remove amalgams, refer to details listed in Regulation 40 CFR Part 441.

In addition to installing this apparatus, you will be required to properly handle and dispose of waste amalgam as well. There are also provisions within this new law that stipulate cleansing of vacuum lines using an approved vacuum line cleaner with a pH between 6 and 8. Safe handling and disposal of these wastes need to be properly documented as to when, where and how they are disposed of as well.

Lastly, all dental dischargers must submit a One-Time Compliance Report to a Control Authority by October 12, 2020, or within 90 days after transfer of ownership of a dental practice. Please refer to Form OMB No. 2040-0287 for details of this requirement; a listing of Control Authorities and further details can be located on the EPA website.

Regarding installation of your Amalgam Separator: First of all, make certain it is compliant with the stipulations of the law; and secondly, don’t wait until the last minute to install it. It took me about a month to find a person to install my particular Amalgam Separator. I chose the Solmetex NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator because: it complied with all the Standards of the law; it was easy to install and maintain; and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg to purchase and install. Your IDEA negotiated a very reasonable price for this apparatus and Solmetex was very helpful in assisting me meet compliance standards.

Regarding installation, I have very limited space in my utility closet where my vacuum system is located. As a result, I chose a plumber rather than a “dental supplier technician.” He installed the unit in about an hour and charged me about $200. All in all, choosing and installing the AS went relatively easy and the Solmetex Compliance Paperwork is going to make my life easier in dealing with and tracking these regulation standards. One could argue that these regulations are a bit of a hassle, but thanks to the IDEA and its parent association, the IDA, much of the legwork was minimal comparatively speaking. I don’t think anyone is necessarily in favor of more regulations, but they seem to be a fact of life; at least we have an organization to help us get over these hurdles when they occur.

Good luck with your installation; just remember not to wait until the last minute. July will be here all too soon!


Dr. Tom Murray practices in Princeton and is the current chair of the Indiana Dental Enterprises Association (IDEA), which selected Solmetex as the IDA vendor partner for amalgam separators.


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