Sanitary sewers, or collection systems, collect and transport wastewater to treatment facilities. The systems include sewers, lift stations, conveyance systems, interceptors, temporary storage basins, and related facilities, and are considered part of the disposal system. Extensions of a sewer system are considered a facility expansion, and MPCA permits may be required for extensions, additions, or other modifications that result in new or increased discharges of pollutants (Minn. Stat. § 115.07, subd. 3).
Permits are required when:
- Constructing new sewers — including laterals, mains, trunks, and interceptor sewers — that will be part of publicly or privately owned treatment works system. Does not include individual service connections (or building sewers) that are owned by the user (e.g., individual connection in a mobile home park).
- Building sewer mains, trunks, interceptors, or other projects intended for future expansions of service, even if there are no service connections in the initial proposal
- Replacing existing sewers with larger sewers
- Installing additional or larger pumps to increase capacity
Permits are not required when:
- Constructing an individual service connection
- Repairing a broken pipe by replacing a portion of the pipe
- Replacing, relocating, or rerouting existing sewer pipe with pipe of the same size
- Lining existing sewer pipe
- Replacing pumps with units of same size and capacity
You may not begin construction on the proposed project — including site clearing and grubbing and installation of curb, gutter, roads, or sanitary sewer — until you have received a written permit for the activity from the MPCA.
You must be able to certify that the collection system and wastewater treatment plant representatives, project proposer, and design engineer have all approved the project before submitting an online application.
Paper forms may continue to be used, but eventually all applications will be required to be submitted online.
Other permits or approvals
- Sanitary sewer extension project in the seven-county metro area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties) must be approved by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) before submitting an application to the MPCA.
- The project may require a NPDES stormwater permit for construction activity.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources may require permits for the project.
- Local building code officials and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry may require building permits.
- In areas connected to a sanitary district or wastewater treatment system in a neighboring municipality, approval is required from both the owner and operator of the sewer system and treatment facility. Obtain approvals from local jurisdictions before submitting an application to the MPCA.
Contact the compliance staff assigned to your county with questions about the permit process or when permits are required.