To reduce the amount of mercury entering the wastewater system, dental practices that place or remove mercury amalgam fillings are required to obtain a wastewater discharge permit from DSRSD and implement mercury reduction best management practices (BMPs), including installing approved amalgam separators.
In the absence of dental BMPs and amalgam separators, mercury amalgam waste from dental offices is estimated to be the single largest source of mercury to wastewater treatment plants. Some of this mercury will pass through treatment and be discharged into San Francisco Bay. To protect the Bay, its fish, and the citizens of the Bay Area, the Regional Water Quality Control Board requires DSRSD and other Bay Area wastewater agencies to work with dentists to divert amalgam waste and other sources of mercury from dental wastewater.
- Obtain a Dental Practice Wastewater Discharge Permit
- Implement best management practices (BMPs)
- Install ISO Certified amalgam separators
- Annually submit a report that documents the amount of amalgam waste generated and removed by licensed waste hauler
District staff conducts inspections to ensure compliance with these requirements. Dental practices pay fees for a four-year permit and inspections. The inspection fee will vary, based on staff time needed to inspect the facility and complete administrative duties following the inspection(s).
To apply for a permit or for more information, contact Clean Water Programs Specialist Stefanie Olson at (925) 875-2245.
Forms and Resources
- Fact Sheet: Dental Offices and Water Pollution Control
- Dental Practice Wastewater Discharge Survey of Amalgam Management
- Sample Permit
- Amalgam Waste Best Management Practices and Certification Form
- Certification of Amalgam Separator Installation
- Accepted Amalgam Separators
- Dental Practice Self-Monitoring Report Form