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EPA Proposes Standards for Discharges of Dental Amalgam

On October 22, 2014, EPA published a proposed rule establishing pretreatment standards under the Clean Water Act for discharges of pollutants — mercury in dental amalgam — into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). Under the proposed rule, dentists would use amalgam separators and best management practices to control and reduce discharges.  To minimize the burden on dental practices, the proposed rule would allow dentists to demonstrate compliance by proper use of the separators rather than by discharge monitoring.  Recognizing the challenges of regulating an industry with over 100,000 facilities nationwide, EPA also is proposing to streamline permitting and oversight requirements.

EPA anticipates that compliance would reduce the discharge of approximately 4.4 tons of mercury per year into POTWs. In addition to soliciting comments on the proposed rule and its rationale, EPA is asking for data on a number of issues including, e.g., data on the number of dental practices that do not place or remove dental amalgam.  However, EPA’s request for data is not a formal data call-in. Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted no later than December 22, 2014.


Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.