Thursday, March 13, 2014

Contact: Vince Trimboli
208-384-3927 |

Dental Best Management Practices Change

New rule requiring offices to have amalgam separators is a step to keep mercury out of the river and meet new federal requirements.

(Boise) – The City of Boise has changed its dental best management practices requiring dental offices to install a device called an amalgam separator. The device separates the mercury contained in older dental fillings and keeps it from entering the sewer system.

The new policy is one step the city is taking to meet the latest EPA discharge permit issued for the City’s two wastewater treatment plants, which for the first time has local numerical limit for mercury. Along with requiring amalgam separators, The City is strengthening public outreach and collection opportunities on the proper disposal of mercury containing products, improving pipeline testing and eliminating sewage trucks from dumping unregulated waste at the plant.

“Mercury is very difficult to remove from our wastewater to the levels required by our discharge permits.” said Public Works Director Neal Oldemeyer. “So we are aggressively pursuing steps to keep mercury out of our wastewater treatment system and most importantly from reaching, the lifeline of our community, the Boise River.”

The change to dental care facilities was approved by council earlier this month and goes into effect September 1, 2014. This is for facilities that are connected to the City sewer system in the great Boise area, including Eagle and Garden City. Many dental offices already have a certified amalgam separator. The Public Works Pretreatment Inspection Program encouraged dental care facilities to install them nearly a decade ago. If a facility does not have a separator, we recommend you contact your dental equipment vendor for questions about installation of an approved separator unit prior to completing and submitting the Dental BMP application. 

To ask questions about the new dental requirements, please contact the Boise City and/or sewer district Pretreatment office at 384-3992.