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NJDEP Dental Amalgam Program

The focus of the Dental Amalgam Program and federal effluent limitation guideline is to insure waste amalgam including, but not limited to, dental amalgam from chair-side traps, screens, vacuum pump filters, dental tools, cuspidors, or collection devices, is not discharged to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).

Discharges to Public Sanitary Sewer

Discharges into public sanitary sewers are regulated by the Bureau of Pretreatment and Residuals. In New Jersey, all dental facilities subject to this regulation were required to implement Best Management Practices, or BMPs, by October 1, 2008, and must have installed an amalgam separator that meets the ISO 11143 criteria by October 1, 2009. Facilities that opened after October 1, 2007 shall immediately install an amalgam separator. Each dental facility subject to this regulation shall register and certify compliance annually with the NJDEP. An online portal service is provided by NJDEP to augment the registration and certification process.

NJDEP Online Registration and Certification

Dental facilities are required to submit an Annual Certification between the beginning of January and end of March, with the certification covering the period 01/01 to 12/31 of the previous reporting year.

Note: All Dental facilities in New Jersey must register with NJDEP. The NJDEP dental amalgam program requires ONLY those dental facilities that generate amalgam waste through placement and/or removal of amalgam to certify annually the installation and maintenance of an amalgam separator(s).


    Beginning 2018, the portal has been updated to include additional requirements resulting from the June 14, 2017, adoption of the new federal dental amalgam regulations entitled, ‘Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Category’, at 40 CFR 441. Existing dental facilities in New Jersey have been subject to similar State regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:14A-21 for the past 10 years and must continue to comply with those requirements. These new federal regulations that became effective on July 15, 2017 do not supersede the State regulations. The necessary portal updates are being made to ensure all dental facilities in New Jersey comply with all applicable State and federal regulations.

    The previous 12 month registration/certification implementation period of October 1 through September 30 has been revised to coincide with a simpler calendar year schedule, January through December. Dental registration/certifications are now due annually during the first Quarter (January through March) for the previous calendar year.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: These changes will not cause any lapse in compliance for dental registrants. Dental practices completing annual registration/certification submissions during January – March 2018 will satisfy the registration/certification submission requirement that would have been conducted in the fall of 2017. Please check back here periodically for updated information on these changes. Email updates and posting updates will also be sent on the Division of Water Quality’s Facebook page, so be sure to send your email address to us at and like us on Facebook at @NewJerseyH20.

NJDEP Online Registration and Certification Resources:

On-line Registration User Manuals File Type
blue arrow Dental Facility Registration Manual for New Registrants pdf
blue arrow Dental Facility Guidance Manual for Renewal Registration pdf
blue arrow Quick Guide for Registration and Renewal Process pdf
blue arrow Dental Portal FAQs pdf


Discharges to Septic Systems

Dental facilities with onsite wastewater treatment systems are required to obtain a separate New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Discharge to Ground Water (NJPDES-DGW) permit. The Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control (BNPC) has issued a general permit for dental facilities that require a NJPDES-DGW permit. For more information, please contact the Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control or read more regarding the K2 General Permit.

In addition, the Department is requesting that dental facilities with onsite wastewater treatment systems that do not discharge to a POTW also complete the online registration process.

Results of the Rule

Thanks to the continued cooperation of the New Jersey dental community, significant reductions in the discharge of mercury into the environment has been accomplished. (See below).

The effectiveness of the dental BMPs and the installation of the amalgam separators were assessed during calendar year 2012 by studying sewage sludge and wastewater effluent data. In addition, the continued effectiveness of the dental BMPs are assessed by tracking sludge quality data. From the year 2008 (the year Dental Best Management Practices were required to be implemented) to the year 2011 (after required implementation of amalgam separators), there was a reported decrease of about 36 percent in wastewater mercury effluent concentrations, and a 31 percent decrease in sewage sludge mercury concentrations. By calendar year 2016, mercury concentrations in sewage sludge have decreased by 48 percent since the inception of the dental BMPs. The results are summarized below.

Mercury Reductions in Municipal Wastewater Systems Since Implementation of Dental Amalgam Program


Year Mercury in Wastewater Effluent (ug/L) Mercury in Sludge (mg/kg)
Baseline -- Prior to BMPs and Amalgam Separators




First Sampling After Deadline for Amalgam Separator Installation 2011
Percent Mercury Reduction 36% 31%
Most Recent Calendar Year Sampling 2016 N/A 0.66
Percent Mercury Reduction N/A 48%

Additional Resources:

New Jersey Dental Rule Text
State vs Federal Rule Comparison
Dental Amalgam Rule FAQs
Best Management Practices
Fact Sheet
Dental Amalgam Poster
Amalgam Waste Recycling (Separators and Facilities)

If you have questions or need additional information regarding discharges to the public sanitary sewer, contact the Bureau of Pretreatment and Residuals at (609) 984-4428.


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Last Updated: January 3, 2018