The City of Los Angeles, in cooperation with the California Dental Association (CDA) identified ways to reduce or eliminate dental amalgam (may or may not contain mercury) and other dental wastes (silver from photographic X-ray processing and lead from foil shields) contained in industrial wastewater through implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). The City regulates industrial wastewater discharges from Dental Offices and Clinics into the City's sewer system and has established Dental Operations BMPs as part of the Industrial Wastewater Permit requirements
The City's Industrial Waste Control Ordinance requires the following:
- Dental Offices and Clinics that generate industrial wastewater containing dental amalgam, photographic, disinfectant, and preservative wastes must obtain an Industrial Wastewater Permit to discharge to the City's sewer collection system.
- Dental Offices and Clinics must comply with Best Management Practices to reduce dental amalgam and other dental wastes from entering the City's sewer collection system.
- Dental Offices and Clinics that fail to comply with Best Management Practices are subject to in enforcement actions.
The City has worked closely with the CDA to develop outreach and educational materials such as the Dental Offices Best Management Practices brochure entitled " Clean Water, Making it Happen" and video "Environmental Responsible Dentistry Amalgam Management" to increase awareness among dental offices and clinics of the potential adverse environmental impacts of dental wastes in wastewater.