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Is your office compliant? EPA amalgam separator requirement began July 14

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Despite the unprecedented upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the Environmental Protection Agency’s amalgam separator requirements went into effect July 14, 2020.

As required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling, certain dental facilities that discharge waste water into a publicly-owned treatment works, for example municipal sewer systems, may be subject to the law. Some practices may already have an amalgam separator system, but perhaps it doesn’t pass muster. The EPA law may require those with existing amalgam separator systems to bring them up to the law’s specifications within a 10-year grace period. For more information about the EPA Amalgam rule, visit ADA.org/RecycleAmalgam.

Seattle-based dentist Dr. Jordan Brenner purchased a practice that came with an amalgam separator already installed. “I bought a practice in 2014, and there was an amalgam separator system in place because in Washington we’ve been mandated to have an amalgam separator for quite some time now,” he said. “It’s not like the rest of the country where it’s kind of a newer thing.” 

But he, quite frankly, found it lacking for his 5-chair practice, which includes himself and two full-time hygienists. After running his practice for a few years, Dr. Brenner realized how sluggish and inefficient the existing amalgam separator actually was. His brother, a fellow dentist, broadened his perspective. “My brother was doing some contract work in my office and noticed that the suction wasn’t as good as it was in his office,” he said.

Dr. Brenner asked his brother for more feedback. “He was talking to a supply company and he said, ‘I want equipment that is going to last, that I don’t have to worry about replacing, and I want it to be high-quality.’ They put in the Rebec system for him.”

Dr. Brenner followed suit. He had a Rebec amalgam separator installed. He appreciates that it’s a complete solution that includes one inclusive price for parts, servicing and waste removal. 

“It was one of those things that was on my list to do,” he said. “We got shut down because of the government [pandemic] mandate. I decided, you know what, I may as well upgrade a couple of my systems. So, things are up and running, and I don’t have issues when I come back. I’ve been using it when I’m seeing emergencies.”

Dr. Brenner is happy with his new unit and suggests that dental offices having similar functionality issues as he experienced might get relief from the Rebec Environmental CatchHG amalgam separator. “For people who are having issues, who feel like their amalgam separators are clogging up frequently, or they’re having to replace the canisters frequently, then the Rebec system is a great option to prevent loss of suction and not have to worry about the maintenance part of it,” he said.

The HealthFirst Rebec Environmental CatchHG amalgam separator earned the endorsement of ADA Member Advantage, following an exacting investigation that included an ADA Professional Product Review.

HealthFirst offers ADA-member pricing on the Rebec Environmental CatchHG amalgam separator and discounts on HealthFirst’s Amalgam Recovery Program. For more information on the HealthFirst Amalgam Recovery Program, visit the HealthFirst website.

Jean Williams headshotAbout the author

Ms. Williams is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor who specializes in practice and research news for dental and medical professionals. She can be reached at writewoman12@hotmail.com.