Dental Certification

Dental clinics are required to complete and return this form to MMSD annually. MMSD will send your clinic this form, but you can print another form from the link below.

Dental Amalgam Certification Form

Other Resources
 
  • Dane County Clean Sweep has a waste collection program for businesses that qualify as very small quantity generators (VSQGs) of hazardous waste, including amalgam and non-controlled pharmaceuticals.
     
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and UW-Extension produced a guide to amalgam management for dental offices, including recommendations and case studies as well as comparisons of different amalgam separators
 

Pollution Prevention for Dental Clinics

Dental clinics have played a central role in MMSD’s mercury minimization program. Because dental amalgam was one of the largest sources of mercury in the wastewater to the treatment plant, MMSD worked with dental offices to reduce amalgam contributions to the sewer system. 

The cooperation paid off: since the deadline for dental offices to install amalgam separators, MMSD has seen a significant decrease in the incoming and outgoing mercury at the treatment plant. MMSD continues to work with dental offices through annual certification reports and periodic site visits to ensure that mercury reductions persist.

Amalgam Management

To maintain dental mercury reductions, MMSD asks dental clinics in its service area to take the following steps. The first three actions are required by MMSD’s Sewer Use Ordinance (Section 7.1).

  • Maintain your amalgam separator according to manufacturer recommendations. Amalgam separators can remove over 99% of the amalgam from dental wastewater, but if they become too full, amalgam-containing wastewater can bypass the separator and drain to the sewer. Ensure that the separator cartridge is replaced with the recommended frequency or before contents exceed the fill point.
  • Follow WDA best management practices for amalgam management.
  • Fill out and return the annual amalgam certification report, which verifies that your clinic is following required practices. MMSD will send out this form every year, but you can also print another form from the link to the right. 
  • Use a suction line cleaner that is compatible with your amalgam separator. Line cleaners that contain bleach or chlorine, or have a high or low pH, can diminish the effectiveness of the amalgam separator. Check with the separator manufacturer to make sure your cleaner is appropriate for the separator.
  • Handle old plumbing fixtures as potentially mercury-containing waste when conducting renovations or demolitions. Mercury can settle in old fixtures, such as sumps and traps, making them hazardous waste.

Other Pollutants

Although less prevalent than amalgam in dental offices, other substances used in dental settings can be water pollutants, so MMSD recommends the steps below to minimize them.

  • Properly dispose of medications via a waste management company, rather than flushing them or placing them in the trash. If you need to dispose of a small amount of non-controlled medications, Dane County Clean Sweep may be a disposal option. Be aware that household medication collection sites, such as MedDrop boxes, cannot be used to dispose of business pharmaceutical waste.
  • Capture silver fixer if using non-digital X-rays to prevent the fixer from going down the drain.
  • Educate staff on what can and can’t be disposed of down the drain. You can post MMSD’s Flushable? poster near sinks and other drains as a reminder.