Dental Amalgam Separator Systems

Law Summary

This law requires any dental office, placing, removing, or repairing dental amalgam, to install an amalgam separator by December 31, 2004.

Dentists - What do I need to do?

Separator Vendors

Your dental amalgam separator must meet the following criteria in order to be able to meet all existing laws, rules, and regulations.

1. Removal Efficiency. Must be tested in accordance with ISO standard 11143 and have a minimum removal efficiency of 95% if installed prior to March 20, 2003 or 98% if installed after March 20, 2003. List of amalgam separators that have passed ISO 11143 and have been evaluated by Maine DEP to determine if "totally enclosed".

2. Totally Enclosed. Must be totally enclosed according to hazardous waste rules. See Chapter 856, Section 6(C). (off-site)

3. Written Recycling Contract. Either the dental amalgam separator vendor or the dental office must have a written contract with a licensed recycler. See Chapter 850, Section 3 (A) (4) XVI. (off-site)

How can you get your amalgam separator on the list as having passed the ISO1143 testing?

Send information pertaining to the exact manufacturer and model of amalgam separator. Enclose a copy of the test results from the certified laboratory that performed the ISO 11143 tests on your separator. Results must be on laboratory letterhead, indicating which make and model separator was tested, and must carry the signature of an authorized agent of the laboratory. Shall have test results for both empty and full scenarios in accordance with ISO 11143 testing protocol.

Mail this information to:

Sterling Pierce (207) 287-4868
Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta, Me 04333-0017

Maine DEP staff will review your request and add your amalgam separator to the list, if the above requirements have been satisfied.

How can you get an interpretation from DEP on whether or not your amalgam separator is “totally enclosed”?

In order to obtain a written interpretation from Maine DEP concerning whether or not your amalgam separator meets the legal definition of “totally enclosed”, please provide the following information;

  • A succinct description of your treatment unit that demonstrates that the unit is designed and constructed of impermeable material that will prevent the leakage of any liquids and ensure that solids are completely contained within. Attach diagrams or manufacturers information to assist with your explanation.
  • Describe when and how the filter unit is changed or replaced - how is the unit opened and closed to replace the filter cartridge. Is there a manufacturers suggested inspection schedule that should be followed by the operator of the unit to ensure filters are replaced prior to falling below the 98% treatment efficiency standard?
  • What would trigger or demonstrate to a user that a malfunction has occurred? If a malfunction occurred, describe the steps taken to prevent any release to the environment.
  • Would any liquids or waste materials need to be handled in such a way that spillage is a possibility?   Yes   No Is the unit installed into the suction line or hard piped into the plumbing?
  • Describe how pipes or vents in your system would prevent an overflow, by-pass or a release. In order to meet the totally enclosed definition the unit must be fail safe designed in that any malfunction would not cause a release from vents, piping, or valves associated with the unit.
  • How much does the filter weigh once spent and needs to be shipped?

Include a brochure describing how your amalgam separator operates. Include a schematic of the amalgam separator and describe how the unit is installed in the dental office wastewater discharge line.

Send this information to:

Michael Hudson (207) 287-6113
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta ME 04333-0017