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TCEQ commissioners approve amended wastewater rule for dental offices

July 2, 2018 - Reducing discharge of mercury and other metals

Dental offices, that discharge mercury and other metals present in amalgam used for fillings, are the main source of mercury discharges to publicly-owned wastewater utilities. These metals are subsequently released to the environment and affect surface water. A new rule amendment approved last week by the TCEQ requires dental offices to comply with requirements based on practices recommended by the American Dental Association, better protecting the state’s surface water.

New report required from most dental offices

The vast majority of dental facilities that discharge wastewater into a publicly-owned wastewater utility (for example, municipal sewage system) are subject to this rule and must submit a one-time compliance report (Form 20808) Microsoft Word Document.

Dental clinics that discharge but do not place dental amalgam, and do not remove dental amalgam except in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances, are exempt from any further requirements if they file a one-time compliance report to the TCEQ showing why they are exempt.

Dischargers that exclusively practice one or more of the following specialties are not subject to any of the rule’s requirements:

  • Oral pathology
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

Specific information can be found on the TCEQ website.

TCEQ commissioners approved the amendment to Texas Administrative Code §305.541 Exit the TCEQ incorporating a federal rule that became effective last July.

EPA guidelines Adobe Acrobat PDF Document Exit the TCEQ and FAQs Adobe Acrobat PDF Document Exit the TCEQ offer detailed information on what dental facilities are subject to the rule.