About the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

An MPCA staff person wearing waders stands in a river, using a small net to capture something against the grassy river bank.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is a state agency committed to ensuring that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate. Through the authority of state and federal statutes and guidelines, the Agency focuses on preventing and reducing the pollution of air, land, and water, and leads Minnesota’s efforts to protect against the devastating effects of climate change. We work with regulated parties, businesses, governments, organizations, and Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations to develop innovative, community-centered approaches that protect our natural resources, improve human heath, and foster strong economic growth.

The MPCA's five-year strategic plan charts the agency’s direction and reflects insight gathered from external stakeholders and thoughtful review from agency staff and management. See the MPCA strategic plan.

The MPCA addresses statewide inequities in pollution exposure through its work to ensure that Black, Indigenous, communities of color, and low-income residents enjoy a healthy environment and fair treatment with respect to the development, adoption, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This includes meaningful engagement with communities most impacted by pollution and programs intended to protect against it. Read more about the agency’s environmental justice work.

Graphic showing agency structure: Commissioner's Office at top, under that is Remediation, Watershed, Operations, Environmental Analysis and Outcomes, Resource Management and Assistance, Industrial, and Municipal.

The MPCA is organized into seven divisions:

  • Remediation handles assessment and cleanup of Superfund and other contaminated sites, administers the statewide Closed Landfill Program, and responds to environmental emergencies.
  • Watershed monitors and assesses water quality and develops strategies to protect healthy waters and assist communities in addressing pollution. It also issues permits and oversees compliance and enforcement of animal feedlots.
  • Environmental Analysis and Outcomes houses air and water monitoring work. It analyzes data, develops standards, and ensures environmental data is broadly accessible to the public.
  • Resource Management and Assistance administers grants for innovations in recycling and pollution prevention, and houses solid waste and recycling programs, environmental review, technical assistance to local governments, and GreenStep Cities.
  • Industrial handles permitting, compliance assistance and enforcement, and licensing and certification for industrial facilities including wastewater and stormwater sources, air emission sources, underground fuel storage tank facilities, and hazardous waste generators.
  • Municipal has authority over municipal wastewater, stormwater, and construction stormwater permits. It also implements bio-solids land application, responds to floods and spills, and provides technical reviews for the Public Facilities Authority.
  • Operations supports the entire agency, via fiscal, grant management, legal, data, records, communications and outreach, facilities management, fleet services, security systems and regional office management.

History of the MPCA

The Minnesota Legislature formally established the MPCA in 1967 in response to a growing awareness of the environment's fragile nature and increasing threats to its condition. The legislature charged the agency with the unique challenge and demanding responsibility to protect the air, waters, and land of our great state.

The creation of the MPCA expanded on the efforts and actions of the Water Pollution Control Commission, established in 1945 to encourage communities to build wastewater treatment plants at a time when none existed and raw sewage was dumped into lakes and rivers.

MPCA’s creation in 1967 occurred three years before the first national Earth Day celebration and establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

Partnering with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works collaboratively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 to protect Minnesota’s environment — striving to increase flexibility and accountability and improve environmental outcomes. This relationship is formally outlined in the Environmental Performance Partnership Agreement (EnPPA), established in 2016. The agreement solidifies our understanding of roles and responsibilities of MPCA and U.S. EPA Region 5, which serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribal nations that share those states’ geography. For an overview of the Environmental Performance Partnership Agreement see relationship with the EPA.

Contact the MPCA

The MPCA has offices in seven cities around the state. To contact MPCA by phone, call 651-296-6300 in the Twin Cities area, or toll free at 800-657-3864. Or use your preferred telecommunications relay service.