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KCIW conducts compliance inspections of dental practices that discharge mercury into the King County sewage system.

During the compliance inspection, which will normally last less than one half hour, the inspector:

  • Will look to see if the dental office has an approved amalgam separator unit properly installed OR has a valid wastewater discharge permit
  • Will check to see that X-ray fixer, chemical solutions, disinfectants and cold sterilants are properly managed
  • Will check records, such as receipts for equipment and waste removal (see Best Management Practices)

Inspection follow-up

KCIW follows up on inspections when they do not practice the minimum Best Management Practices or have the required paperwork. A typical inspection follow-up would include the completion of an inspection report and an evaluation of the practice’s compliance. If the practice is in compliance, there will be no further action.

  • If the inspector noted major problems during the inspection, (e.g. no amalgam separator and no permit in place) the inspector will set up a compliance schedule for that office.
  • If problems are not corrected King County may proceed using its Enforcement Response Plan.

Goals of King County Enforcement Response Plan

  • Correct violations as soon as possible
  • Treat all industrial dischargers equitably
  • Eliminate any economic advantage to a business for not complying
  • Recover costs caused by violations

Best management practices

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