Blog: What are Amalgam Separators? What are the Benefits?

March 13, 2018

What are Amalgam Separators?
Amalgam separators are machines installed on the vacuum lines of dental offices, and are designed to collect solid material from the wastewater before the particles reach the sewer system. The devices are gravity driven machines designed through sedimentation, filtration, centrifugation or any combination of these mechanisms. No amalgam separator currently on the market is ‘smart’ enough to only collect the amalgam waste from the wastewater, all solid waste will be collected, potentially adding several years to the life of the dental vacuum. The new EPA “dental rule” requires dental practices to install an ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator by July 14, 2020 and closely follows the guidelines set forth in the ADA’s Best Management Practices.

The most obvious benefit of the amalgam separator is the effect on the environment by supporting the Clean Water Act. Because dental offices are no longer able to send amalgam waste down the drain, the EPA estimates this will cut harmful mercury discharge into the wastewater by 5.1 tons. Contrary to popular belief, not only are amalgam separators practical, affordable and readily available, they are also easy to install and require little yearly maintenance. The Solmetex NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator requires a one-time installation and a simple collection container change-out when the solids have reached the full line, or it has been one year, whichever occurs first. Proper recycling of the NXT Hg5 collection container is included in the price of the container.