The Utah Dental Association (UDA) developed best management practices for the management of dental wastes in collaboration with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and local jurisdictions such as CCRWTF. This voluntary program encourages the recycling of mercury, amalgam, silver, and lead.
Silver Recovery Program
The Cedar City Pretreatment Department strives to maximize the operating efficiency of the Cedar City Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, (CCRWTF) by regulating the types and quantities of pollutants that enter the public sewer system. Silver has become a substance of concern and is targeted for reduction by the Pretreatment Program. The Pretreatment Department has developed a Silver Reduction Program to reduce the level of silver coming into the CCRWTF.
The goal of the silver reduction program is to provide education and technical assistance to photo and X-ray film processors to reduce silver entering the wastewater treatment system. Your cooperation in the silver reduction program is essential to prevent the need for more costly regulation. The Pretreatment department prefers to implement a program relying on the voluntary adoption of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to capture silver at the source, rather than permitting, monitoring and inspecting waste generators. The effective management of silver-bearing waste through the use of sound, BMP-based pretreatment practices can save time and money for photo and X-ray processors and Clean Water Services.
Why recover silver from photographic wastes?
Processing photographic film, x-ray, and photographic prints produces wastes containing high levels of silver. Silver is highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Photo processing waste may contain silver concentrations as high as 15,000 parts per million (ppm) before pre-treatment Wastes containing more than 5 ppm of silver are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous waste. Disposing of silver into the public sanitary sewer system wastes a valuable resource that can be conserved. Recovering silver from photo processing waste streams converts a potential source of pollution into a potential source of revenue. Recovered silver is marketable and can be profitable. Silver recovery is beneficial to both photo processors and the environment.
Objectives of the Silver Pollution Prevention Program:
• Reduce silver coming into the public sanitary sewer system
• Minimize cost to industry
• Improve silver recovery and resource conservation
• Avoid the need to issue costly monitoring-based permits