The Science of
Toppen Solutions, LLC
Holliston, MA 01746
Amalgam Separator Standards
International Standards Organization 11143
American National Standards Institute /
American Dental Association 108-2009
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards
for the Dental Category (ELGSDC)
Based on weight
Requires certiﬁed particle distribution size
Must test 6 times, 3 full / 3 empty
Eﬃciency based on the lower of the two test sets
95% removal is required to be certiﬁed
Types: Type 1 Centrifugal, Type 2 Sedimentation, Type 3 Filtration,
Type 4 any combination of 1,2 and 3
ANSI / ADA (108 / 2009)
Start with ISO 11143
Add a few wrinkles
More rinse water
Loosening in the status of the systems
99% ISO, 2008 Standard
Receive all waste containing amalgam (Cuspidors Sinks?)
Inspected by facility once per month to verify
functionality (should change) not bypassing.
Grandfather clause 10 years (should change)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
NSF currently performing most if not all ISO
certiﬁcations in the US.
What is an Amalgam Separator? Solids Collectors
What do they do? Collect all the solids from
the evacuation system
in a dental oﬃce
How do they do it? Three separation
What is the manufacturers #1 goal?
Design to beat the standard.
Capacity? 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years?
It’s all marketing
Air Techniques ApaVia Avprox
DRNA M.A.R.S. MedenteX
Metasys R&D Services Rebec
SolmeteX The Simple Anterior Quest
Centrifugal: Will not ﬁnd in the US at this time
Sedimentation: Vast majority in the US
Combination: No manufacture will admit to it.
What do Amalgam Separators do?
Pollution Prevention Device
Separate Solids and Liquids
Capture and Collect S0lids
Remove solids to greater than 99% Eﬃciency
Signiﬁcantly reduce mercury discharge from dental
Amalgam Separators Do?
Capture speciﬁcally mercury
Capture dissolved mercury
Meet discharge limits, Unless you don’t have one.
Cause major issues for the dental practice
Create a major expense for the dental practice
How They Work
Can inspect visually to verify
functionality and solids collection
Can easily understand how to
maintain the system
Allows for ELGSDC inspection
Can only see a system is installed
No knowledge of functionality
Could be in bypass
ELGSDC inspection requirement?
Does a window count?
Amalgam Separator Installations
Centrally located vs Chair-Side
Central: Near or next to the vacuum pump,
last 6 months - 2 years
Chair-side: Next to the chair in the operatory,
“ﬁlters”, last about a month.
Designed for # of Chairs
Large Clinics or school
Manufacture dependent / Size Matters
$150 per Chair for Chair-side units
$300 - $1200 covers 90% of the market
Annual Operational costs $300 - $600
Expect the costs to reduce when and if
EPA Dental Rule is applied.
Filter systems plug fast and
need frequent changes because
vacuum is pulled through the ﬁlter
Central systems can plug
and bypass. This is not
restricted to certain manufactures
Bring Flashlight for clear systems
No ﬂashlight necessary if Black Box
Chair-sides systems in the treatment room
Central systems will be located near the vacuum
pump, usually a utility closet or basement
ELGSDC: How can you inspect a Black Box?
Inspection Questions to Ask
How many vacuum users in the practice?
Where is the amalgam separator located, chair or
How many users is the separator rated for?
When was the last time the collection container was
What evacuation line cleaner are you using?
Most separator companies have disposal options
through pre-paid labels to recycling centers or staging
centers for disposal
Several mercury reﬁning companies in the US one in
Proper Disposal should not be an issue
Amalgam Separator are not designed to catch dissolved
One company makes the claim by using carbon however
limited amount of contact with carbon
Polishing system possible however does not completely
remove all mercury
Amalgam separators should get mercury levels to low ppb
Tank systems collect all waste from dental vacuum
Tank contents are pumped out and collected for transport
approximately 60 day schedule
Brought to proper facility for disposal
Solid waste is reﬁned
Not available everywhere.
Not ISO or ANSI / ADA 108 / 2009 approved Does it need to be?
Meets ELGSDC amalgam deﬁnition?
Many line cleaners with varying pH
Some have oxidizers
pH 6 - 8
Non-bleach / Non- chlorine (Expect a change)
Weekly Cleaning (Should be daily for standard
cleaners once to twice a week for micro-
Best Management Practice
Collection of scrap amalgam
contact and non-contact
Collect waste in chair-side traps
Collect vacuum pump ﬁlters
Properly dispose of collection
Similar to ADA’s BMP’s
BMP’s would be required in some capacity.
May be the Standard under Dental Industrial Users
Public Comment ended Feb 20, 2015
Should be working on replies to comments
An NGO spoke with EPA HQ which stated “EPA
will publish its ﬁnal amalgam rule in June 2016. This
is unconﬁrmed however from a reliable source, don’t
holding my breath
No oﬃcial word and its anyones guess if it happens
Dental Vacuum Flow
Vacuum is negative
No positive pressure
Pulls, not gravity
Flow only when High Speed suction is open
High speed is sporadic
Vacuum lines must be cleaned regularly
Dry vs Wet Vacuum Pumps
Discharges an extra 360 - 520 gpd
Any Water Restrictions?
Tap water is used to operate wet vacuum
Water usage is becoming an issue for states speciﬁcally
What is the water use of wet ring pumps?
Recycle about 1/4 gpm clean tap water
Some have recyclers which cuts water use to 10%, not as
Wet Ring Vacuum
1 hp 360 gpd
Dual Vac 720 gpd
Dry Vacuum Advantage
Uses no water for operation
More expensive however savings from water usage
could pay for the pump (San Fran 14 month payback)
Can be ﬁnanced for no upfront costs, virtually free
No delusion eﬀect
More power eﬃcient
No questions on the ability to reduce mercury for
inﬂuent or eﬄuent