The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is 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 state 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 health, and foster strong economic growth.
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. The agency advances meaningful engagement with communities most impacted by pollution and programs intended to protect against it. Read more about the agency’s environmental justice work.
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 identifies strategies to assist communities in addressing water pollution and protect healthy waters. It also oversees the regulation 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 wastewater and stormwater facilities, sources of air emissions, 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
In response to the increased awareness of threats to the environment, the Minnesota Legislature established the MPCA in 1967 to protect Minnesota's air, water, and land. This was three years before the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The MPCA built on the efforts of the state's Water Pollution Control Commission, established in 1945 to encourage communities to build wastewater treatment plants.
The MPCA collaborates with U.S. EPA Region 5 (which comprises Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribal nations) to protect Minnesota’s environment, striving to increase flexibility and accountability and improve environmental outcomes. The Environmental Performance Partnership Agreement (EnPPA), established in 2016, specifies the roles and responsibilities of each agency.