Frequently Asked Questions

NXT Hg5 Series of Amalgam Separators

Q: How do I order an NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator or a replacement Collection Container?

A: You can either order an NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator or a new collection container from your dealer of choice or call Solmetex 877-207-1551, or visit our online store and we can help you place your order. 

 Part numbers are as follows:

  • NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator, NXT-HG5-001 (1-10 operatories)
  • NXT Hg5 mini Amalgam Separator, NXT-HG5-MINI (1-4 operatories) – suitable for tight spaces 
  • NXT Hg5 High Volume Amalgam Separator, NXT-HG5-HV (11-20 operatories)
  • NXT Hg5 Replacement Collection Container with Recycle Kit, NXT-HG5-002CR
  • Hg5 Replacement Collection Container with Recycle Kit (Legacy), HG5-002CR
  • NXT Hg5 Recycle Kit Only (does not include a new collection container), NXT-Hg5-002R
  • Hg5 Recycle Kit Only (does not include a new collection container), Hg5-002R

Q: What is the difference between the standard NXT Hg5, the NXT Hg5 mini and the NXT Hg5 High Volume Amalgam Separators?

A: The standard NXT Hg5 system is designed to accommodate 1-10 operatories. The inlet and outlet ports measure 1 ½” and it can be installed on the floor or wall mounted.

The NXT Hg5 mini is designed for tight spaces and is suitable for 1-4 operatories. The inlet and outlet diameter measures ¾”, and can be installed under a counter, under a sink and it can be wall or floor mounted. The mini is 7.5” shorter than the standard NXT Hg5.

The NXT Hg5 High Volume is designed for larger practices, it can accommodate 11-20 operatories. The High Volume can only be wall mounted and it has 3” inlet and outlet. Unlike the standard and the mini amalgam separator, the high volume has two collection containers instead of one.

Q:  What collection container should I order for my system?

A:  First, determine which Amalgam Separator you are currently using. The latest generation in the Hg5 Series of Amalgam Separators is the NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator (released in June 2017). If purchase was made prior to June 2017, then you are using the Hg5 Amalgam Separator (Legacy). The following shows which collection container you should order:

  • NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator – use the NXT Hg5 Collection Container (NXT-Hg5-002CR)
  • NXT Hg5 mini Amalgam Separator – use the NXT Hg5 Collection Container (NXT-Hg5-002CR)
  • NXT Hg5 High Volume Amalgam Separator – use the NXT Hg5 Collection Container (NXT-Hg5-002CR)
  • Hg5 Amalgam Separator (Legacy) – use the Hg5 Collection Container (Hg5-002CR)
  • Hg5 mini Amalgam Separator (Legacy) – use the Hg5 Collection Container (Hg5-002CR)
  • Hg5 High Volume Amalgam Separator (Legacy) – use two Hg5 Collection Containers (Hg5-002CR)

Q: What if I neglected to change my container and now there is water/sediment in the top chamber?

A: First and foremost, put a new collection container on the system as soon as possible. Depending on the level and volume of the material in the top chamber, you have a few options that can help clear the top chamber.

Low Level of Material:

1. Leave suction ON.

2. While holding the collection container in place, remove the 2 pins that attach the container to the top chamber.

3. Slowly pull down on the collection container to break the seal between the top and bottom container. As soon as air gets inside the top chamber you should see the contents start to agitate. Allow the material to agitate for 30 seconds or so, then put the container back into place and secure with the pins. The material in the top should start to flow to the bottom container almost immediately. (Sometimes this procedure is required to be done a few times before all the top contents have moved to the bottom.)

Medium/High Level of Material:

1. Try the above process first. If that doesn’t work, you should call a service technician to try and help you clear the top. Keep in mind, the waste collected in the top chamber should be recycled, just like the collection container. So if your service technician manages to get all the waste out of the top and into a bucket, that bucket should be sent off to a mercury recycler.

2. If emptying the top chamber into a bucket is not an option, you can purchase a new air-water separator (top) from your dealer of choice. Contact Solmetex and we can help you with sizing of the replacement. Please keep in mind that the full top chamber you are replacing still needs to be sent to a certified mercury recycler.

Q: What if I have a portable vacuum? Can an Amalgam Separator be installed on the cart?

A: Unfortunately, portable vacuums are not designed to handle the size and weight associated with most Amalgam Separators on the market. However, a separator could be placed in/next to a sink, and the contents of the portable vacuum could be poured into the inlet of the separator, with a hose or tube leading the outlet of the separator to the sink. This would require gravity to do the work, instead of suction, but over time it would still allow the material to settle and the separator to do its job. The Amalgam Separator could be taken off the sink, with the proper valve shut off, and placed in storage until the next time it is needed.

Q: I don’t have central suction. Can one of the NXT Hg5 series of Amalgam Separators work for me?

A: Unfortunately, If you currently don’t have central suction, and work off a Venturi system, our line of NXT Hg5 separators would not accommodate your system.

The NXT Hg5 is designed to provide years of trouble-free service, with minimal attention. In the unlikely event of system related problems, please consult the troubleshooting and maintenance chart in your NXT Hg5 manual, or call Solmetex for assistance.

Low Vacuum at the Hand Piece

If the vacuum gauge reads normally but there is little or no vacuum to the hand piece, there is probably a clog or a leak between the hand piece and the NXT Hg5 Amalgam Separator.

If the vacuum gauge reads lower than normal these are the possible causes:
Q:  Did you just replace the collection container?


Check installation of the new collection container. If the vacuum is low, there is a possibility the O-rings on the collection container did not seal into the receivers. Remove the collection container, check the O-rings and re-install per the collection container installation procedure.


1. Check solid collection cup(s) – Clean or replace element/screen if necessary.

2. Check operation of the vacuum pump.

3. Listen for vacuum leaks.

4. Check all connections for breaks or cracks.

5. Check all flexible hose for kinks, breaks, or loose clamps.

Practice Waste Solutions

Q: Some states say that storage of waste amalgam cannot exceed 1 year. Does that include my Amalgam Separator container?

A: Yes, Solmetex requires that you recycle your amalgam bucket annually.

Q: Can sharps go in my biohazard bucket?

A: Loose sharps are not permitted in the biohazard bucket. However, full sharps containers may be placed in the biohazard bucket.

Q: Why does California require a different filter for the fixer & developer waste?

A: Although developer does not meet the federal requirement for silver discharge limits, there are several counties in California that require fixer AND developer to be filtered prior to discharge. Water treatment facilities in parts of CA have trouble with their pH levels, therefore they require dental offices to treat their fixer and developer to help control pH levels being put into their facilities.

Q: What is the difference between an automatic and manual filter for fixer recovery?

A: Dental offices either have an automatic film processor, in which the processor is plumbed directly to a drain, or they have a manual processor that requires emptying of a tray or bottle manually after use.

Q: What kind of amalgam waste goes into the PWS Amalgam Buckets?

A: The PWS Amalgam Buckets are designed to handle contact and non-contact amalgam waste generated in dental practices. That includes vacuum trap filters, chair side traps, extracted teeth with amalgam, and spent amalgam capsules. Liquid mercury cannot be put in an amalgam bucket. If you have liquid mercury, and need help disposing of it, please call Solmetex directly at 800-216-5505.

Q: What kind of waste can be put into a scrap lead bucket?

A: Our lead bucket is designed to handle lead foil from x-ray films and autoclave indicators. We offer a separate product for recycling lead aprons. The Lead Apron Bucket (PWS-LB-A) is designed to hold 2 lead aprons. Lead aprons must be recycled separately from lead foils.

Q: How long can I store biohazard waste in my office?

A: Each state has its own storage limits for bio-hazard waste. 

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