General environmental requirements

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.

Air emissions

Minnesota requires air permits for some small businesses. You'll likely need an air permit if your business:

Most small businesses qualify for the smallest and simplest permit, known as a registration permit. You may also be subject to some federal air regulations. Contact us for free, confidential help at 612-282-6143 or 800-657-3938.

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.

Compliance

Submit your annual emissions inventory by April 1 and pay the annual fee. Most small businesses have registration permits, which do not expire. 

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

Requirement Due date
Emission inventory fees for previous year Mailed to permitees in March, due within 60 days
Emission Inventory April 1
Corrections to emission inventory Mailed to permittees in November, due within 45 days

Hazardous waste

You need a hazardous waste license if you produce any amount of hazardous waste. Common hazardous wastes generated by small businesses include waste paint, used solvents, dirty rags, and expired medicines.

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. The MPCA and metro counties work together to make sure hazardous waste requirements are the same throughout Minnesota.

If you produce only small amounts of hazardous waste, you probably qualify to bring the wastes to PDF icon Very small quantity generators collection programs (w-hw2-51).

TIP: Minimize waste and use non-hazardous alternatives when you can; smaller volumes of waste are charged smaller license fees.

Compliance

See the Hazardous waste documents and forms page for information on managing specific types of hazardous waste.

Training

Annual hazardous waste training is required for large quantity generators (2,200+ pounds a month) and small quantity generators (220 to 2,200 pounds a month), and recommended for very small quantity generators (less than 220 pounds a month). Free training is available from the MPCA and some metro-area counties:

Hazardous waste due dates

Requirement Due date

Hazardous waste generators fee

Mailed to license holders in first quarter, due date on invoice
License application Due August 1 for Greater Minnesota businesses;
Twin Cities metro businesses: contact your county

Stormwater

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.

Compliance

Permit holders must submit the industrial stormwater annual report by March 31 and pay the annual fee. If you have the no exposure exclusion, watch for changes at your facility to make sure you still qualify.

Industrial stormwater due dates

Requirement Due date
Microsoft Office document icon Annual Report Form NPDES/SDS General Stormwater Permit for Industrial Activity March 31
Industrial stormwater quarterly sampling January 21
April 21
July 21
October 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.

Storage tanks

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. Grants are available to help pay for this equipment.

Compliance

Report leaks and spills to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 651-649-5451 or 800-422-0798. Follow the general requirements for underground storage tanks and aboveground storage tanks. The compliance calendar for aboveground storage tanks can help.

Wastewater

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.

Local regulation

Be sure to check with your county, city, and township to see if they have any additional requirements.

Self-audit checklists

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.