Complying with the July 14th EPA Amalgam Separator Rule in Challenging Economic Times

Months of mandatory office closure, except for treating the occasional emergency, has proved to be an extreme hardship for both patient and dentist alike. Finally, some pandemic restrictions have been lifted and patients can seek the care they require, but you have missed out on months of revenue while still having to pay many overhead costs.       

With general dental practices, usually operating with between 55% and 72% in overhead costs, critical emphasis must now be placed on reducing capital expenditures as well as regular operating costs in order to re-establish positive cash flows and the overall financial health of the practice. The need for cost containment should be on every dentist’s mind for, while first and foremost health care professionals, we are also small business owners.

This problem of stretched budgets is not one which the federal EPA recognizes. Under the new amalgam separator rule, dentists must install an amalgam separator and begin recycling amalgam waste by July 14 of this year. Under the Rule, any office which EITHER places OR removes amalgam must comply. Ultimately, this Rule applies primarily to General and Pediatric Dentists and to Endodontists.

In a time when most offices are struggling with re-opening obstacles such as reduced cash flow, potential shortages of PPE and the increasing cost of it, retraining staff in social distancing and other COVID prevention measures, reduced seating in reception areas, etc., the last thing we need is to purchase an amalgam separator whose prices often start at $850.

While the EPA rule will not be delayed in these challenging times, your Association is looking for ways to help. VDA Services has vetted and partnered with DRNA, Inc., the number one direct-to-dentist company in the US whose sole business is amalgam separators/recycling. Under the agreement, VDA members are eligible for an amalgam separator at NO COST, with a signed 3 to 5-year service contract. * This allows you to become fully compliant without the need to expend valuable cash reserves at this difficult time.

If you’re saying to yourself “nothing is ever free…what’s the catch?” Allow me to explain. As DRNA deals directly with dentists and never uses middlemen, we operate at lower costs which we pass on to customers. In these extraordinary times, we went a step further and are truly giving you a separator for free. Under the EPA Rule, these separators must be recycled. Ours is recycled once per year which also makes it complaint with OSHA guidelines regarding maximum storage time for wastes in an office. At the end of each year in service, the separator is returned to us for processing and a new one is sent. Our annual fee for the new unit, shipping both ways, recycling contents, production of documentation for you, etc. is only $500.

When you sign up with DRNA you will pay nothing for your first unit. Your first unit is free. In fact, you will not pay anything until that unit has been in place for one year and we ship you the new replacement. This means you have no fees of any kind until after a full year has passed, giving you time to get your practice back to the success it was before the closures.

We know that you will have to recycle this waste for years to come. For this reason, we have also reached an agreement with the VDA not to raise our annual recycling fee for up to 5 years.

We know this has been a difficult time for dentists and we want you to know that the VDA has gone over and above to help you eliminate the cost of complying with this new regulation. We at DRNA are honored to be the VDA Services endorsed vendor. Call us today at 1-800-360-1001, ext. 2 to sign up for your free amalgam separator benefit.

* Receive a free unit when you sign a 3- or 5-year recycling agreement at $500 per year for the BU10 (1-8 chairs) and $750 per year for the BU30 (9-16chairs).

Editor’s Note: Dr. Frost is Vice President for Clinical and Scientific Affairs at Dental Recycling North America, Inc.