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Dental Rule Compliance

On July 14, 2017, EPA enacted standards in order to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The Dental Office Category Rule at 40 CFR Part 441 requires dental offices that place or remove amalgam to operate and maintain an amalgam separator. Dental offices must not discharge scrap amalgam or use certain kinds of line cleaners.

Existing and new dental offices must submit a one-time compliance report to their pretreatment Control Authority (either the designated local authority or the TDEC Pretreatment Program.)

IMPORTANT COMPLIANCE DATES:

Dental offices (under any ownership) that were discharging into POTWs prior to July 14, 2017 are known as “existing sources” and must be in compliance with the standards by July 14, 2020. Their one-time compliance report certifying such must be submitted by October 12, 2020.

New sources (to include all dental offices who began discharging into POTW after the Rule became effective) must be in compliance with the standards immediately. The one-time compliance report certifying such must be submitted within 90 days after the first discharge to a POTW. 

Note that if a dental office transfers ownership, the new owner must submit a new one-time compliance report to the Control Authority within 90 days after the transfer. 

 

As a dental discharger, what are my responsibilities?

Dental dischargers subject to the rule must:

  • Ensure the removal of dental amalgam solids from all amalgam process wastewater via amalgam separator(s) or equivalent device(s) that meet the standard of the final rule,
  • Implement two best management practices:
    • Waste amalgam including, but not limited to, dental amalgam from chair-side traps, screens, vacuum pump filters, dental tools, cuspidors, or collection devices, must not be discharged to a POTW.
    • Dental unit water lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines that discharge amalgam process wastewater to a POTW must not be cleaned with oxidizing or acidic cleaners, including but not limited to bleach, chlorine, iodine and peroxide that have a pH lower than 6 or greater than 8.
  • Comply with reporting requirements
  • Maintain and make available for inspection certain records documenting compliance

Please see 40 CFR Part 441 for specific requirements.

Who should I send my report to?
The one-time compliance report should be submitted to the dental facility’s pretreatment Control Authority. If a dental facility discharges to a utility with an approved pretreatment program, the utility is the Control Authority and the report should be submitted to that utility. If a dental facility discharges to a utility without an approved pretreatment program, The Control Authority is TDEC’s Division of Water Resources and the one-time compliance report should be sent to the Division of Water Resources.  (List of Control Authorities)

Where can I find the one-time compliance report to fill out?

If the Division of Water Resources is your Control Authority, please fill out the TDEC DWR ONE-TIME COMPLIANCE REPORT FOR DENTAL DISCHARGERS and mail the form to:

Pretreatment Coordinator
Division of Water Resources
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave, 11th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

If your local utility is your Control Authority, please contact your utility/sewer provider to determine what form to use. Some local utilities may have more stringent reporting requirements. 

Tip: ask to speak to the utility’s pretreatment coordinator.

Please note that, due to electronic reporting requirements, signed forms cannot be scanned and emailed or faxed. All electronic reporting must be Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Rule (CROMERR) compliant in accordance with 40 CFR 3. More information on CROMERR compliance is available at https://www.epa.gov/cromerr.

Please also see EPA’s Frequently Asked Questions on the Dental Office Category Rule
 

As the Control Authority, what are my responsibilities?

Control Authorities should identify all dental dischargers as part of the industrial waste survey. Control Authorities should also prepare a one-time compliance report form for dental facilities to complete and submit. Procedures should be established for receiving the form and meeting standard pretreatment recordkeeping requirements. Dental dischargers are not Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) or Categorical Industrial Users (CIUs), unless otherwise designated by the Control Authority. Section VI.D.4 of the Preamble to this rule notes that “Control Authorities have discretion under the final rule to determine the appropriate manner of oversight, compliance assistance, and enforcement.”

Is there a one-time compliance report example I can use?

EPA has an example one-time compliance report on their website. Control Authorities are welcome to use this form (please remove the “DRAFT” watermark and change headings and instructions as necessary), or you may create your own compliance report form. The sample form for the one-time compliance report developed by EPA contains the minimum information that dental facilities must submit in a one-time compliance report to comply with §441.50. If you choose to create your own compliance report form, it must contain all the necessary information from the Rule.

Please note that, due to electronic reporting requirements, signed forms cannot be scanned and emailed or faxed. All electronic reporting must be CROMERR-compliant in accordance with 40 CFR 3. More information on CROMERR compliance is available at https://www.epa.gov/cromerr.

Please also see EPA’s Frequently Asked Questions for Control Authorities on the Dental Rule
 

State of Tennessee Pretreatment Program Contact

Laurel Rognstad 615-532-8786 Laurel.Rognstad@tn.gov