Dental practices are the No. 1 source of mercury discharge into sewage treatment plants, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To protect the environment from the harmful effects of mercury, the EPA issued a federal rule that requires U.S. dental practices to install amalgam separators and recycle mercury-containing waste. The socalled Dental Amalgam Rule requires that any existing dental practice that places or removes amalgam install an amalgam separator by 2020, while newly built dental offices need to comply within 90 days.
Ensuring that your dental practice complies with the EPA rule and other federal, state, and local regulations can seem like a daunting task, but Solmetex, a leader in amalgam separation and mercury waste solutions, is there to help. Solmetex introduced the next generation of its popular Hg5 amalgam separator, the NXT Hg5, to make it easy and cost-effective for dental practices to safely collect and dispose of mercury waste.
After upgrading to the NXT Hg5 in his Chicago practice, Dr. Stephen Gordon is pleased with the newer and better design. “This is a well-designed device that fulfills a definite need for safe mercury collection and disposal/recycling,” he told DPS. All practices that invest in the NXT Hg5 amalgam separator, including those who participated in this DPS evaluation, can be assured that they’re doing their part to protect the environment.
Overall Recycling Program/Process
Because this Solmetex amalgam separator collects, recycles, and disposes of mercury discharge, Solmetex calls its program the Total Solution Approach. The NXT Hg5 collects amalgam containing mercury into a collection container that can easily be replaced when full. The full containers are then shipped to an EPAcertified mercury facility via Solmetex’s convenient mail-back recycling program. Further, every time a practice recycles, Solmetex documents recycling history in their online Compliance Center, where certificates of compliance are accessible online 24/7 at www.solmetex.com.
“It’s a very convenient system to add to your existing suction and wastewater system, with easy maintenance,” shared Dr. Mitchell Pasenkoff. Dr. Scott Helle appreciates that Solmetex includes an amalgam bucket, which is now required by the EPA, for the proper recycling of dry amalgam waste from chairside traps, teeth with amalgam, spent amalgam capsules, vacuum filters, and other sources. “My mind is at ease knowing that my amalgam waste is being recycled properly.”
Ease of Installation
The NXT Hg5 amalgam separator is available in multiple sizes to fit the needs of any size dental practice. The NXT Hg5 serves practices with 1 to 10 operatories, and the NXT Hg5 mini accommodates waste in smaller offices with 1 to 4 chairs. Both have the option to mount to the floor or wall. For large practices, the NXT Hg5 High Volume mounts to the wall and services 11 to 20 operatories.
When Dr. Helle purchased the NXT Hg5 for his second new practice recently, Solmetex Customer Care helped him quickly install it to his new plumbing system. Dr. Joel Doyon, who upgraded to the newer filtration system of the NXT Hg5, relied upon his distributor’s repair person to install the new system, which he said was done quickly and efficiently. Calling it “a vital piece of equipment for any dental office,” Dr. Scott Terry said the NXT Hg5 is simple to install and effective, and Wendy Bonarelli, CDA, praised it for its “utmost ease of installation by trained professionals.”
Ease of Use and Ease of Changing Collection Containers
The NXT Hg5 amalgam separator has proved to be convenient and effective for Dr. Pasenkoff’s practice, removing 99.5% of amalgam residue from wastewater, he said.
Praising its simple design, ease of installation, and ease of use, Dr. Gordon shared, “Safe mercury disposal/ recycling is an important system that all dentists who remove amalgam fillings must incorporate in their dental office design.” Noting that he can easily see the sediments in the collection container because of its clear design, Dr. Doyon said, “The canisters are very easy to replace, and you can do it while you see patients.” Dr. Doyon said his office could maybe use a larger collection container, and Dr. Reza Madani would like to see a lower cost to the replacement/recycling program, adding that he would recommend the NXT Hg5 to colleagues because “it’s hassle free and easy.”
All of the practitioners who evaluated the NXT Hg5 amalgam separator said they would recommend the product and would definitely purchase it again, and collectively they deemed it a DPS Best Product. Explaining that the NXT Hg5 alleviates his concerns about heavy metals getting into his septic tank and potentially leaching out into the surrounding ground soil, Dr. Doyon concluded, “[It has a] big impact on environment and water safety.” Dr. Gordon shares his “green” philosophy with patients and explained, “I always inform my patients of the benefits of having their old mercurycontaining fillings disposed of properly to save the environment that we all live in.”