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 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. Air emission registration permits (aq3-01)
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.
- Facts About Your Option B Permit (aq3-03)
- Facts About Your Option C Permit (aq3-05)
- Facts About Your Option D Permit (aq3-04)
- 12-Month Rolling Sum
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 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|
You need a hazardous waste identification number if your business produces any amount of hazardous waste: Obtain a Hazardous Waste Identification Number (w-hw1-03)
Businesses generating most types of hazardous waste are required to report annually, pay a fee, and obtain a license for the subsequent year. Metropolitan counties license and inspect facilities in their county (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington). The MPCA licenses and inspects facilities outside the metro-county area. Obtain a Hazardous Waste Identification Number (w-hw1-03)
If you produce only small amounts of hazardous waste, you probably qualify to bring the wastes to a collection program: 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.
- Manage your wastes properly by following the 10 steps to compliance.
- You can give your facility a check-up between inspections using self-audits for very small quantity generators (VSQGs), small quantity generators (SQGs), or large quantity generators (LQGs). Information at the top of each self-audit will help you figure out what size generator your business is.
- Report spills to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 651-649-5451 or 800-422-0798.
See the Hazardous waste documents and forms page for information on managing specific types of hazardous waste.
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:
- MPCA hazardous waste training (open to all Minnesota businesses)
- Dakota County training (open to all Minnesota businesses)
- Hennepin County online training (open to all Minnesota businesses)
- Ramsey County training
- Washington County training
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.
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
|Annual Report Form NPDES/SDS General Stormwater Permit for Industrial Activity||March 31|
|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. Grants are available to help pay for this equipment.
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.
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.