Woodworking and finishing

Ends of boards stick out of a pile of lumber viewed from the end.Air emissions


Airborne dust is a nuisance and a health concern. Woodworking businesses — from sawmills to wood-product manufacturers — can create dust from manufacturing processes, outdoor stockpiles, and hauling and transferring material. The MPCA requires facilities to prevent dust from becoming airborne.

Air permit. Whether you need an air permit will depend on your various processes and their potential to create air emissions. The very smallest facilities may qualify as insignificant facilities, which do not need a permit.

A woodworking facility can use this calculator to see if they may qualify to operate without an air permit by following certain technical standards: File Air emissions calculator: Conditionally exempt source woodworking facilities (p-sbap5-40w)

Use these process-focused calculators to determine your facility's potential and actual emissions.

Complying with state permits

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


Whether or not your business has an air permit, you may need to meet the requirements of National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP):

If this standard applies, submit

Due date

Microsoft Office document icon Initial Notification and Compliance Forms - Paint Stripping and Misc. Surface Coating Operations (NESHAP Subpart 6H)

180 days after startup

Hazardous waste

You need a hazardous waste license if your business produces 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). See the Hazardous waste documents and forms page for information on managing specific types of hazardous waste, such as paint, thinners, paint-booth filters, and rags.

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


Apply for an industrial stormwater permit if you have material, equipment, or activities that are exposed to rain, snow, or runoff. You may qualify for the no-cost no-exposure certification and avoid the permit and fees if you don’t have any materials, equipment, or activities exposed to the elements. If you have only a few materials outside, consider moving them inside to qualify for no-exposure certification

Stormwater permit due dates

Requirement Due date

Industrial stormwater monitoring reports

March 31
Industrial stormwater quarterly sampling January 21, April 21, July 21, and October 21

Local regulation

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

Beyond compliance

Benefits of going beyond compliance for wood finishing:

  • Water-based finishes have fewer worker health and safety issues than solvent-based coatings.
  • Respond to a growing market for “green” wood products.

Consider these green ideas:

  • Lease reusable wipes from an industrial laundry service.
  • Optimize use of cleaning solvent by implementing a two-stage cleaning process.
  • Adjust the fluid delivery pressure and nozzle size on spray equipment to gain optimum efficiency.
  • Train operators on the best spray techniques to reduce the amount of product used.
  • Consider purchasing equipment with a higher transfer efficiency.

See the Beyond compliance page for more information on reducing waste and saving money in your business.