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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Silver Waste in Dental Offices

Silver is found in used x-ray fixer solution, used x-ray film, and also dental amalgam. Since silver is a characteristic (DO11) hazardous waste, NHDES has developed an informational sheet Management of Silver Waste From Dental Offices, which includes best management practices.

There are two options to manage dental office used x-ray fixer solutions.

  1. Used x-ray fixer solution can be processed onsite with a variety of available silver recovery units available on the market. Before you purchase a recovery unit, check with your local publicly owned treatment works (POTW) to determine if the dental office will need a POTW discharge permit from the town or city and to ensure that the level of silver removal it provides meets the POTW’s discharge standards. Refer to the silver waste fact sheet for more information
  2. Silver bearing fixer solutions are regulated as a hazardous waste when they are shipped off-site for silver recovery. The dental office must notify the Reporting and Information Management Section to obtain an EPA Identification number. NHDES has developed a list of Silver (D011) Recyclers who will recycle the fixer solution and/or silver bearing filters at their facility. The waste will be manifested, but the dental office should note on the manifest "for recycle", so that the generator will not be charged a NH hazardous waste fee.

Used x-ray film may contain silver, which may require testing, unless the manufacturer supplies information on its hazardous waste status when the films are not longer usable.

X-Ray Photo Developer Waste
X-ray developer does not contain silver; therefore it does not typically have to be managed as a hazardous waste. Either the dental office can release the used developer down the drain to the sewer, provided they have received prior permission from their local publicly owned treatment works, or pour it down the drain to their septic system, provide the office has completed the NHDES Registration and Notification for Floor Drains and Discharges to Groundwater Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. Please fill out the form and sent it to the address listed, attention Mitch Locker, NHDES Water Supply and Engineering Bureau. Should you have any questions, contact Mitch at (603) 271-2858.



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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