Aggregate - sand and gravel

A red conveyor belt pours gravel on top of a large mound.

Air emissions

Do I need a permit?

Calculate your potential air emissions. If you exceed the potential emissions thresholds listed in this calculator, you need an air permit: File Aggregate: sand and gravel air emissions calculator (p-sbap5-30)

Federal standard. Is your facility affected by the federal new source performance standard for Nonmetallic mineral processing (Subpart OOO)?

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

What kind of permit do I need?

If you need a permit, most facilities can qualify for the nonmetallic mineral processing general permit: Microsoft Office document icon Nonmetallic mineral processing general permit: Qualifications review checklist (aq-f4-nm00)

If you do not qualify for the general permit, it is possible to obtain an air emission registration permit. Use the calculator to determine if your actual air emissions are below the limits of the Registration Option D permit.

If you cannot qualify for either a general or registration permit, then you must apply for another type of air permit. See the Types of air permits page for more information.

How do I apply?

Find application forms on the Air permit forms page. Be sure to include the cover page with your packet: File SCP-01: Submittal cover page (aq-f1-scp01)

Compliance tool

The PDF icon Aggregate Facility Compliance Calendar is a free tool to help you stay in compliance with requirements for recordkeeping and reporting.

Air permit due dates

Requirement Due date
Emission inventory fee for previous year Mailed to permit holders in March, due within 60 days
Emission inventory April 1
Corrections to emission inventory Mailed to permit holders in November, due within 45 days
PDF icon Deviations reporting form for non-metallic mineral processing general permit (aq-f4-nmdrf) January 30
July 30
PDF icon Annual compliance certification for the non-metallic mineral processing general permit (aq-f4-nmcr) January 31
Microsoft Office document icon Relocation Notification Form (aq-f7-re01) for portable facilities 48 hours before relocating

Hazardous waste

You need a hazardous waste license if you produce any amount of hazardous waste. 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 to bring the wastes to PDF icon Very small quantity generators collection programs (w-hw2-51).

Annual hazardous waste training is required for businesses that generate 220 pounds or more of hazardous waste a month. Learn more on the General environmental requirements page.

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 and wastewater

Aggregate facilities must have a permit for stormwater and wastewater activities. The Nonmetallic Mining & Associated Activities General Permit (MNG490000) covers both stormwater and wastewater for the aggregate industry, and is required for process wastewater.

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 wastewater to surface waters, you must obtain an individual NPDES/SDS permit.

Water permit due dates

Requirement Due date
Industrial stormwater quarterly sampling January 21, April 21,
July 21, and October 21
Microsoft Office document icon Annual report form NPDES/SDS general industrial stormwater permit (wq-strm3-55) March 31
Discharge monitoring reports for MNG49 general permit for non-metallic mining January 22, April 22,
July 22, and October 22

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.

Environmental review

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.

Silica sand

MPCA silica sand mining general information page. Frac sand operations must follow the same regulations as other aggregate operations, plus any local requirements.

Operations with a sand dryer are likely to be subject to federal New Source Performance Standards for calciners and dryers in mineral industries and not eligible for the MPCA non-metallic general air permit or registration air permits. Such operations 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.

Local regulation

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

Beyond compliance

Air

The MPCA receives many complaints about dust. Minimize dust from blasting, drilling, crushing, conveying, screening, stockpiling, and hauling materials.

  • Control dust by using water trucks, windbreaks, on-site speed limits, putting stockpiles in sheltered areas, and planting vegetative ground cover.
  • Minimize fugitive dust by limiting the drop heights of materials being transferred to stockpiles, bins, or conveyors; watering dry materials; and leaving empty space at the top of unenclosed aggregate storage bins.

PDF icon Case study: Air quality impact study for UMore Park sand and gravel resources, University of Minnesota

This study finds potential air quality impacts such as type of air pollutants in the mining area and identifies options for minimizing those impacts.

Noise pollution can reflect negatively on your company. Consider ways to lessen noise impact on surrounding properties.

Stormwater

Erosion control. When protective vegetative cover is removed and underlying soil exposed, the risk of erosion greatly increases. Sediment can clog streams, destroy fish spawning beds, and reduce clarity and quality of the water in lakes and ponds. Minimize erosion by practicing the following:

  • Leave as much vegetation undisturbed as possible or build vegetative buffer strips.
  • Minimize the length of time bare soil is exposed.
  • Divert or prevent runoff from flowing across exposed areas.
  • Stabilize disturbed soils as soon as possible.
  • Slow the runoff flowing across the site.
  • Consider using silt fences or sediment traps, or building a sedimentation basin.

Wetlands. When choosing a site and planning your operations, identify nearby wetlands to minimize impact by not disturbing wetlands and not allowing untreated water and runoff to discharge directly into wetlands.

Tanks and chemical storage areas. Inspect for leaks and ensure proper maintenance of fuel tanks and chemical storage areas. Check the containment to ensure it is in good condition and sufficient freeboard is available.

Vehicle tracking. Minimize vehicle tracking of dust onto roadways by regularly inspecting exit roads. Immediately remove tracked dirt and mud from roadways.