Rule Changes & Updates


The EPA published a new rule on February 22, 2019, titled, “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine”. This new rule prohibits the discharge of Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and DEA controlled substances, which includes a handful of RCRA hazardous wastes that are also DEA controlled substances, to the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) from Health Care Facilities and Reverse Distributors. The effective date of the sewer prohibition will be August 21, 2019, which is 6 months from the publish date (February 22, 2019). Dental Amalgam is excluded from this rule because of the EPA pretreatment standards promulgated in 2017.

New Rule - Sewer Prohibition: EPA 40 CFR § 266.505 Prohibition of sewering hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. All healthcare facilities—including very small quantity generators operating under § 262.14 in lieu of this subpart—and reverse distributors are prohibited from discharging hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to a sewer system that passes through to a publicly-owned treatment works. Healthcare facilities and reverse distributors remain subject to the prohibitions in 40 CFR § 403.5(b)(1). 

The EPA has identified the following as potential healthcare facilities and/or reverse distributors, this list is not all inclusive. Reverse distributors are not a healthcare facility by definition.    Link to EPA Rule

Facility Types

Drug Wholesalers Supermarkets & Other 
Grocery (not convenience)
Pharmacies & Drug Stores
Warehouse Clubs & Supercenters Veterinary Services Physician's Offices
Dentist Offices Other Health Practitioners (e.g., chiropractors) Outpatient Care Centers
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services General Medical and Surgical Hospitals Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals
Specialty Hospitals Nursing Care Facilities Reverse Distributors
Pharmacy located within a Grocery Store Wholesale Distributors Drug Compounding Facilities
3rd Party Logistics Providers that serve as forward distributors Psychiatric Hospitals Ambulatory Surgical Centers
Health Clinics Optical Providers Dental Providers
Chiropractors Fire Stations Mail Order Pharmacies
Nursing Facilities Skilled Nursing Facilities Hospice Facilities
Long-Term Care Pharmacies Long-Term Care Facilities Retailers of Pharmaceuticals
Veterinary Clinics Veterinary Hospitals Veterinary Pharmacies
Locations that sell pharmacies over the internet, mail or other distribution centers Ambulance Services Military Medical Logistics Facilities
Households Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (unless they act as Reverse Distributors) Independently located coroners or medical examiners (unless located in a healthcare facility)
Farmers, Ranchers, Fisheries Assisted Living Facilities Group Homes
Independent Living Communities Independent/assisted living portions of continuing care retirement facilities  

This notice serves as public notice for the following POTWs:

City of Garland Duck Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant & Rowlett Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Portions or all of the following Municipalities/Jurisdictions discharge to one or multiple of the City of Garland facilities: Dallas, Garland, Richardson, Rowlett, Sachse, Sunnyvale)

Dental Offices: Wastewater Discharge Rule

Who is regulated and who is exempt, rules, reporting, and best management practices to implement.

Requirements for discharging wastewater from dental offices including those that place or remove dental amalgam.
**Effective July 14, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted the Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Category Final Rule to reduce the discharge of mercury-containing amalgam from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 441

The effective date for these requirements is July 19, 2018. (Adopted June 27, 2018 by reference in Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Section 305.541)

Am I regulated by this rule?

If your office places or removes amalgam and discharges wastewater to a POTW you must comply with the rule.

If your office does not place or remove dental amalgam, except in limited emergency or unplanned, unanticipated circumstances, you must submit a one-time compliance report to the City of Garland Industrial Pretreatment Program but are exempt from any further requirements. 

Am I exempt?

The following dental offices are not subject to these requirements:

• an office that exclusively practices one or more of the following: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics

• a mobile unit, which consists of a specialized, self-contained van, trailer, or equipment used in providing dentistry services at multiple locations

• an office that does not discharge amalgam process wastewater into a POTW

What do I need to do if the rule applies to my office?

• Install, operate, maintain, and inspect amalgam separators and removal devices.

• Implement these best management practices if you discharge to the City of Garland’s Duck Creek or Rowlett Creek Wastewater Treatment Plants:

1. Do not discharge waste amalgam including, but not limited to, dental amalgam from chair-side traps, screens, vacuum pump filters, dental tools, cuspidors, or collection devices.

2. When cleaning dental unit water lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines that discharge amalgam process wastewater, do not use oxidizing or acidic cleaners, including but not limited to bleach, chlorine, iodine and peroxide that have a pH lower than 6 or greater than 8.

• Submit a one-time compliance report to the City of Garland Industrial Pretreatment Program.

Where should I send my report? 
Send to:

Industrial Pretreatment Program
Wastewater Treatment Department
City of Garland
2500 E. Centerville Rd.
Garland, TX 75040

When is my deadline?

If your office opened on or before July 14, 2017:

• comply with the rule by July 14, 2020

• submit your report by October 12, 2020

If ownership is transferred after July 15, 2020, the new owner has 90 days after the transfer date to send the report to the City of Garland Industrial Pretreatment Program.

If your office opened after July 14, 2017:

• implement the rule requirements immediately

• submit the report within 90 days after the first discharge of wastewater

Where can I find more information?

EPA Dental Effluent Guidelines - Provides background, reporting requirements, and links to the final rule.

EPA Frequently Asked Questions - EPA developed these FAQs based on the Dental Office Category Rule at 40 CFR Part 441.

Amalgam Separators and Waste Best Management