Dental Amalgam Separators – how to comply with recent legislative changes

SI 533 of 2018 designated the Environmental Protection Agency as the Competent Authority for oversight of hazardous waste substances containing mercury with each Local Authority monitoring the dental practices in its area. Although it is not yet known how this monitoring will operate it would be reasonable to assume that some form of review of amalgam separators and associated waste-water discharge from dental surgeries will be undertaken.

Dental practices are obliged to have amalgam separators installed which meet the ISO 11143 standard; removing at least 95% amalgam particles from used water. A maintenance / service contract with an authorised waste management company should support this unit.

Documentary evidence of compliance is a fundamental requirement of any Regulatory Authority. It is advisable that this is held to hand, available for inspector’s visit.

In circumstances where practices do not produce waste amalgam particles e.g. an orthodontic practice it is advisable to undertake a written risk assessment set down the justification for not installing an amalgam separator.