See the descriptions below to get an idea of which environmental regulations may apply to your business. It is not an exhaustive list, so other regulations may apply. Be sure to check the Industry and process pages for information on rules for particular business types.
Web-based resources that you can access any time and explore at your own pace.
- Environmental permitting for small business. Understanding and complying with environmental regulations and permits can be a challenge for small businesses. Learn about air, water, and waste regulatory compliance concepts. See what activities and equipment may require a permit. Find out how to seek help to apply, comply, and terminate permits.
- Do I need an air permit? This training is for small businesses to understand what activities release air pollutants and what type of air permit their facility may need. It covers the types of air pollutants, common activities that release pollutants, types of air permits for smaller businesses, emission calculations, and state and federal air regulations.
- Air pollution control equipment. Information on complying with the control equipment rule (Minn. R. 7011.0060 – 7011.0080), the types of air pollution control equipment, and options for businesses with air permits.
- Climate impacts and resilience for small business. Our climate is changing rapidly, creating new challenges for Minnesota businesses. Learn about the obstacles your small business may face and what you can do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and adapt for the future.
Air pollutants are released from activities that create dust or fumes, whether inside or outside. Common activities include:
- Using 1,000 gallons or more per year of paints, stains, solvents, cleaners, adhesives, or other VOC-containing materials
- Processing grain, asphalt, or sand and gravel
- Burning fuel in a boiler/furnace/heater, or stationary engine/generator
Small sources of air emissions, such as insignificant facilities, may not require an air permit. Auto body facilities, coating facilities, concrete manufacturers, gasoline service stations, and woodworking facilities can be exempt from needing an air permit.
Otherwise, small businesses may qualify for the smallest and simplest state permit, known as a registration permit. These permits contain simplified regulations intended to make compliance easy. To determine if your business meets the regulatory requirements for a permit and what type, you will need to quantify your facility’s air emissions.
You may also be subject to some federal air regulations.
TIP: It may be possible to design your facility in a way that does not require a permit, or make changes that allow you to get a less expensive permit.
Submit your annual emissions inventory by April 1 and pay the annual fee. Most small businesses have registration permits, which do not expire.
- New online training for Option D registration permittees — Covers the types of air pollution control equipment and complying with Control Equipment Rule
Follow the requirements of applicable NESHAP and NSPS.
Businesses with air conditioning or refrigeration equipment
If you have air conditioning or refrigeration equipment that uses CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs, the EPA requires that you use certified technicians who capture all refrigerants during repairs and follow EPA rules for maintenance and repair. There are additional steps to take if your equipment is large and leaky.
Air permit due dates
|Emission inventory fees for previous reporting year||Mailed to permitees between February and April, due within 30 days|
|Emission inventory report||April 1|
|Emission summary review period||Begins in August/September|
You need a hazardous waste identification number if your business produces any amount of hazardous waste.
Businesses generating most types of hazardous waste are required to report annually, pay a fee, and obtain a license for the subsequent year. Facilities in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington County are licensed and inspected by their county. Facilities in greater Minnesota are licensed and inspected by the MPCA. If you produce only small amounts of hazardous waste, you probably qualify as a very small quality generator:
See the Hazardous waste identification and management page for information on managing specific types of hazardous waste.
TIP: Minimize waste and use non-hazardous alternatives when you can; smaller volumes of waste are charged smaller license fees.
Hazardous waste due dates
|Mailed to license holders in first quarter, due date on invoice|
|License application||Due August 15 for Greater Minnesota businesses;
Twin Cities metro businesses: contact your county
You might need an industrial stormwater permit if you have material, equipment, or activities that are exposed to rain or snow melt. Businesses that likely need an industrial stormwater permit include manufacturers, fabricators, warehousers, and marinas.
You have the option of applying for no-exposure certification if you don’t have any materials, equipment, or activities exposed to the elements. If you only have a few items stored outdoors, consider moving them inside to qualify for the no-exposure certification, which has no fees and fewer requirements than the full permit.
TIP: Some cities charge a stormwater fee on your utility bill, and will give you a discount if you can control the amount or quality of stormwater leaving your site. Many watershed districts offer funding and technical assistance for projects that keep stormwater clean, such as raingardens, pervious pavement, or tree trenches.
Industrial stormwater due dates
|Industrial stormwater quarterly sampling||January 21
Recycling and trash
The MPCA regulates haulers, landfills, and other solid waste disposal facilities. That means it's up to the hauler and landfill to decide what you can put in your dumpster. It is illegal to burn garbage in Minnesota.
If your business is in the Twin Cities metro and is required to recycle, recycle at least three materials.
TIP: Regardless of where your business is located, you can save money by recycling. Recycling isn’t taxed, but your trash bill is. Consider recycling items that are often thrown away, such as wooden pallets or plastic packaging strapping, or giving away reusable items to reduce your solid waste bill. Or implement a composting program to recycle food or organic waste.
Most aboveground storage tanks larger than 500 gallons or underground tanks larger than 110 gallons have to be registered with the MPCA. See the storage tanks pages for more information.
Tanks at gas stations in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington County must install Stage 1 vapor recovery equipment and test it every three years. Outside the metro counties, Stage 1 vapor recovery equipment is only required at gas stations that have an average monthly throughput of 100,000 gallons or more.
Report leaks and spills to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 651-649-5451 or 800-422-0798. Follow the general requirements for storage tanks:
If you send waste down the drain, get approval from your wastewater treatment facility first. In the Twin Cities metro area, this is usually Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. Find more information on the MPCA’s wastewater pretreatment page.
If you use a holding tank, have the contents hauled to a wastewater treatment plant or follow the requirements for land applying. Do not use a septic system for industrial waste.
Be sure to check with your county, city, and township to see if they have any additional requirements.
Conducting a self-audit is a great way to ensure that your business is meeting environmental requirements. Self-audit checklists are available on the Environmental audit page. Dry cleaners may use their compliance calendar to complete a self-audit.