Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
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Dental Amalgam Program - Local Dentist Helping to Reduce Mercury Pollution

Thanks to the cooperation of the dental community of central Contra Costa County, we’ve achieved a remarkable 75% decrease in the amount of mercury being discharged into Suisun Bay over the past five years!

Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known. For decades, CCCSD has been employing a variety of methods to reduce mercury pollution of our local water environment—and continues to do so. And one of our most successful mercury-reduction efforts has been our partnership with local dentists.

In 2004, Central San determined that much of the mercury in the wastewater that flowed to our treatment plant was coming from dental practices that used, repaired or removed amalgam tooth-filling materials that contained mercury.   CCCSD passed an ordinance in 2007 requiring all amalgam-generating dental practices in our service area to install amalgam separators (specialized equipment that prevents mercury from going down the drain).

All dentists in our service area who still use, repair or remove amalgam fillings are now using amalgam separators. Our staff continues to work closely with them, scheduling site visits to ensure their separator is functioning properly and reinforcing other actions dentists can take to further reduce mercury discharges.

Thanks to this ongoing partnership with local dentists, we’ve already seen a dramatic reduction of mercury in wastewater coming to our treatment plant and discharged into Suisun Bay. As we continue to hunt down and control other sources of mercury pollution, we commend these dentists for helping us to protect our water environment.


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