SBEAP industry sector: Aggregate - sand and gravel

Do I need a permit?

There are several Minnesota permits and federal regulations that affect aggregate operations.

You need an air permit if:

  • your potential air emissions are over a certain level, or
  • you are subject to a federal New Source Performance Standard (NSPS).

Step 1a: Calculate emissions

Use this tool to calculate your potential air emissions and compare them to the permitting thresholds listed in the calculator.

If you are over thresholds, you need an air permit. Go to Step 1b to determine if additional federal regulations apply.
If you are under thresholds, go to Step 1b to determine if federal regulations apply; if any do, you need an air permit.

Step 1b: Do any of these New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) apply to your facility?

OOO – Requirements for nonmetallic mineral processing. This standard applies if:

  • your fixed plant is larger than 25 tons/hour or your portable plant is larger than 150 tons/hour, and
  • your plant or equipment was constructed, reconstructed, or modified after August 31, 1983.

IIII – Requirements for stationary compression ignition engines. This standard applies if you use a stationary diesel engine that was purchased or modified after July 11, 2005. Portable engines are considered stationary if they are used at a single location for more than a year or, for seasonal operations, at a single location for an entire operating season. This rule does not apply to diesel engines that propel motor vehicles.

JJJJ – Requirements for stationary spark ignition engines. This standard applies if you use a stationary gasoline engine that was purchased or modified after June 12, 2006. Portable engines are considered stationary if they are used at a single location for more than a year or, for seasonal operations, at a single location for an entire operating season. This rule does not apply to gasoline engines that propel motor vehicles.

Kb – Requirements for certain storage vessels. This standard applies if you have a storage tank or container:

  • storing volatile organic liquids (including petroleum products such as fuel),
  • constructed, reconstructed, or modified after July 23, 1984, and
  • capacity is about 19,800 gallons or more.

NSPS Kb does not apply to tanks or containers permanently attached to mobile vehicles such as trucks or railcars.

UUU – Requirements for calciners and dryers in mineral industries. This standard applies if you use a dryer or calciner that was purchased, modified, or reconstructed after April 23, 1986. Note that if this standard applies to you (ie, you are using a dryer or calciner), you must apply for an individual air permit.

Do any of the NSPS apply to your facility?

If yes, you need an air permit. Go to Step 2.

If no, but your potential emissions are over thresholds, you need an air permit. Go to Step 2.

If no, and your potential emissions are below thresholds, you don’t need an air permit. Go to Step 3.

Step 2: Which air permit?

 

Do you have a dryer (Does NSPS UUU apply)?

Do any of the other NSPS apply?

Are your potential emissions higher than the permitting thresholds in the calculator?

Permit information

No

No

No

You do not need an air permit.

No

Yes

No

Apply for Registration Option A air permit.

No

No

Yes

See if you qualify for the Non-Metallic General Air Permit.

No

Yes

No

No

Yes, but you don’t qualify for Non-Metallic General Air Permit

See if you qualify for the Registration Option D air permit.

No

Yes

Yes

   

You must apply for an individual air permit.

 

Registration Option A Air Permit. PDF icon Air quality fact sheet AQ3-01 has information about registration permits. Application forms are on the air permit and forms page – click on “Registration Permit Application Forms” on the right. Be sure to complete and include the following form with your application: Microsoft Office document icon SCP-01: Submittal cover page (aq-f1-scp01) (revised 12/29/17)

Go to Step 3.

Non-Metallic General Air Permit. Use MPCA form Microsoft Office document icon NM-00: Qualifications Review Checklist – Nonmetallic Mineral Processing General Permit (aq-f4-nm00) to see if you qualify. If you qualify, the application forms are on the air permit and forms page – click on “Non Metallic Mineral Processing” on the right. Be sure to complete and include the following form with your application: Microsoft Office document icon SCP-01: Submittal cover page (aq-f1-scp01) (revised 12/29/17)

Go to Step 3.

Registration Option D Air Permit. Use the Office spreadsheet icon SBEAP non-metallic mineral air emissions calculator (p-sbap5-30) to see if you qualify. PDF icon Air quality fact sheet AQ3-01 (aq3-01) has information about registration permits. Application forms are on the air permit and forms page – click on “Registration Permit Application Forms” on the right. Be sure to complete and include the following form with your application: Microsoft Office document icon SCP-01: Submittal cover page (aq-f1-scp01) (revised 12/29/17)

Go to Step 3.

Individual Air Permit. All About Air Permits has more information about individual air permits. Application forms are on the air permit and forms page.

Go to Step 3.

Step 3: Are you subject to the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants – Engines (NESHAP ZZZZ)?

The links on MPCA’s engine page will help you determine whether this regulation applies (possibly in addition to the NSPS). This standard is independent from permit requirements and the four NSPS listed above; whether or not NESHAP ZZZZ applies to your facility does not affect whether you need a permit, and likewise whether or not you need a permit does not affect whether this rule applies.

Go to Step 4.

Step 4: Stay in compliance.

Follow the requirements of your permit and any of the NSPS or NESHAP that apply to your facility.

If you get the Registration Option A air permit, follow the requirements of the NSPS.

Aggregate Facility Compliance CalendarPDF icon Aggregate Facility Compliance Calendar is a free tool to help you stay in compliance.

If you get the Registration Option D air permit, the MPCA fact sheet PDF icon Your Option D Registration Permit summarizes your requirements.

Aggregate facilities in Minnesota must have permits for stormwater and wastewater. The Nonmetallic Mining General Water Permit (MNG490000) is a special water permit that covers both stormwater and wastewater for the aggregate industry.

If you have process wastewater, MNG49 is required. Visit the MPCA's MNG49 Permit page for more information. The PDF icon Aggregate Facility Compliance Calendar will help you stay in compliance with MNG49.

If you have stormwater but no process wastewater, you may still apply for MNG49, which will cover multiple locations under one permit, or you can choose to apply for Industrial Stormwater Permits for each site.

If you discharge process wastewater to surface waters, you are required to obtain an individual NPDES/SDS permit.

Depending on size and what is being stored, your storage tanks may need to be registered. The MPCA aboveground and underground storage tank pages have more information.

The ’10 Steps to Compliance’ fact sheets on the MPCA Hazardous Waste page will help you determine if your wastes are hazardous. If they are, apply for a hazardous waste license online on the agency's e-Services webpage. Additional help for using this service are in the PDF icon Hazardous Waste License Application e-Service Instructions (w-hw5-13)

Additional fact sheets on the MPCA Hazardous Waste page provide guidance on managing specific wastes.

Contact your local municipality for more information. In general, you may need to prepare an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) if your operation:

  • will disturb more than 40 acres of land, or
  • has the potential – or is perceived to have the potential – for significant environmental effects. The potential for environmental impact is greater if your operation will be near a wetland, lake, river, residences, or previously undisturbed area such as woods or prairie.

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

MPCA silica sand mining general information page

Frac sand operations must follow the same regulations as other aggregate operations, plus any local requirements.

In addition, operations with a sand dryer are likely to be subject to federal New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) UUU.  As a result, most operations with sand dryers are not eligible for the MPCA non-metallic general air permit or registration air permits, and will have to apply for an individual air permit.

If your municipality requires a formal response from the MPCA on whether your operation needs an air permit, an “Applicability Determination” can be used for this purpose. Start with form Microsoft Office document icon CH-16, “Applicability Determination Request”; other required forms are available on the MPCA Air Quality forms web page.