When you think of businesses that are affected by Ohio EPA regulations, your local dental office probably doesn’t come to mind. But dental offices are subject to certain environmental rules because they generate infectious and hazardous wastes.
In dentistry, amalgam, an alloy of mercury with various metals, is often used for dental fillings. Due to the high content of mercury in amalgam, it is a hazardous waste and must be disposed of accordingly. This typically requires the use of chair-side traps, vacuum screens, and/or amalgam separators to divide the amalgam from sink water.
When discharging wastewater from your dental office to your local wastewater plant, keep in mind that plants are designed to handle sanitary waste, not chemical wastes. So the improper disposal of photo and x-ray chemicals, sterilants, or disinfectants can result in detrimental effects on the environment. This also applies to dental offices using an on-site disposal system (i.e. septic tank/leach field, filtration system, mound system).
To assist dental offices in determining if they are in compliance, the Ohio EPA’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention developed a checklist. This Compliance Screening Checklist is available on the Ohio EPA’s website.
It’s important to remember that all wastes should be evaluated to ensure proper disposal, and thus protect our environment. Alloway can assist by providing solid and hazardous waste characterization, and wastewater testing. If you’re not sure about the content of your waste, please contact us for testing information.