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EPA's Dental Rule Goes Into Effect
Updated July 17, 2017 6:42 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the final version of the "Dental Rule" on June 9, 2017.

The purpose of this rule is to significantly reduce discharge of mercury from dental offices into municipal sewer systems and, ultimately, the environment. Mercury, along with other metals such as silver and tin, is contained in dental amalgam, a common material used to fill cavities.

The Dental Rule is part of the EPA's General Pretreatment Regulations, which fall under the Clean Water Act. The rule enacts technology-based standards which rely on cost-effective treatment technologies to achieve mercury reduction. Dental offices that place or remove dental amalgam in fillings will be required to install amalgam separators to capture the amalgam before it is released to the sewer. The rule, published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2017, becomes effective on July 14, 2017. Dental offices which begin discharging to the sewer after July 14, 2017 must comply immediately with the standards in the rule. Dental offices discharging to the sewer on or before July 14, 2017 must install, operate, and maintain an amalgam separator by July 14, 2020.

The City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) operates an approved Pretreatment Program and ensures compliance with the Dental Rule and other pretreatment requirements. CBU is working to help local dental offices understand the rule and has recently sent a letter of explanation and survey to all types of dental practices that discharge to the city's sewers. After exploring current practices and equipment in each office, CBU will determine which offices are subject to the new rule and then work with each office to assure their compliance with the rule. Further information is available from the EPA at

For more information, please contact CBU's Pretreatment Coordinator, Tamara Roberts, at (812) 349-3946 or Information also can be found at or "City of Bloomington Utilities" on Facebook.

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