Hazardous waste licensing

Businesses, nonprofit organizations and units of government that generate most types of hazardous waste at sites within Minnesota are required to report that waste annually to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) or their metropolitan county, pay a fee, and obtain a license for the subsequent year.

Metropolitan area

Metro Area Map Hazardous waste generators in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott, Ramsey and Washington are licensed by the county. If your site is located in one of the metropolitan counties, contact the county for local hazardous waste licensing procedure and requirements.

Non-metro generators (outside the metropolitan counties)

What kinds of hazardous waste are subject to reporting, fees and licensing?

Not all hazardous wastes in Minnesota are subject to reporting, fees or licensing. See hazardous waste fact sheet #1.01, Step 1: PDF icon Evaluate waste (w-hw1-01)

How and when do I report my hazardous wastes?

First, ensure you have obtained a free Hazardous Waste Identification Number (HWID) for your site from the MPCA. This number is also commonly known as an “EPA ID Number." HWIDs are permanently assigned to your site, not to you as a business, so if your business moves, you must get a new HWID for the new site.

Applications can be submitted only after the calendar year is over. Applications can be submitted January 1 – August 15 for hazardous waste generated in the previous year. For example, a 2020 hazardous waste generators license application can be submitted January 1 to August 15, 2021.  Be sure to follow all instructions for the application. If an application submittal year was missed please email the hazardous waste licensing coordinator: hw-licensing.pca@state.mn.us

If your site generates more than 100 pounds of reportable hazardous waste during a year, but do not receive a reminder to complete a license application from the MPCA, you are still responsible for submitting a completed application to the MPCA.

If your site generates 100 pounds of reportable hazardous waste or less during a year, or certain types of recycled hazardous wastes which are not subject to annual fees, you will be sent a reminder less often.  Generators who meet this description are known as Minimal Quantity Generators (MiniQG). Complete your license application whenever you receive a reminder notice, even if you believe you are a MiniQG. Your completed license application verifies your MiniQG status to the MPCA and ensures the MPCA's records are up to date and accurate.

How much will my license fees be?

Your annual hazardous waste fee is calculated from the amount of hazardous wastes you reported generating the previous calendar year and how those wastes were managed. All hazardous waste generators who require a license are assessed an annual base fee which varies from year to year according to goals set by the Legislature, which has recently been around $600. If you are a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) or a Large Quantity Generator (LQG), you will also be assessed a volume fee which varies from year to year as well, but has recently ranged between 5 cents and 10 cents per pound.

If you are a MiniQG, you are exempt from annual license fees. Currently, the MPCA does not issue hazardous waste licenses to MiniQGs.

How and when do I pay my fee?

If you are required to pay a fee, you will be sent an invoice in the spring of the year after you submit your license application. You may pay the fee online by electronic withdrawal from a checking account (e-check), Visa™ or MasterCard™ through the MPCA Online Payments tool, or you may mail a check to the address printed on the invoice. Be sure to pay by the due date printed on the invoice, or you may be assessed late fees.

If you have difficulties using the online payment system or have questions about paying your fee, contact the MPCA fee staff.

How do I get my license?

After you pay your fee, your license will be available for printing through the MPCA's Hazardous Waste License Search tool. You are responsible for visiting this webpage and printing out your license. Please allow at least two weeks for the MPCA to receive and process your payment before you attempt to access and print your license.

Post your license in an area visible to the general public at the licensed site, such as a reception lobby, waiting room, or customer service counter. If your site has no areas open to the public, you may post your license in a common employee area.

If you are unable to download your license from the MPCA's website, contact the MPCA licensing staff to request that a copy of your license be sent to you.

How can I make sure the MPCA has my correct waste information?

Site specific information can be accessed using MPCA's What's in My Neighborhood reference tool. You can also review the information you have submitted through the MPCA's e-Service.

Common hazardous waste licensing questions

If your site closed during the last calendar year or after, you must still complete and submit your license application to report any hazardous waste generated during that year.

To ensure that you are not held responsible for any hazardous waste generated in the future at that site, be sure to also complete and submit the notification of regulated waste activity using our online e-services.

Hazardous waste identification numbers are address specific. If you moved to a new site during the last calendar year or after, obtain a new HWID for the new site. You will also need to inactivate your old site. Instructions for doing so can be found in the following document:

First, review hazardous waste fact sheet #1.01, Step 1: PDF icon Evaluate waste (w-hw1-01), to confirm that you did not generate any reportable hazardous wastes at your site. Complete and submit the license application using the MPCA's e-Service to verify that you did not generate any reportable hazardous waste at your site.

You may enter a '0' in the amount column for the applicable waste line on the license application. There is also a checkbox option at the top of the waste entry information that can be selected if no hazardous waste was generated.

Your hazardous waste generator license does not restrict you to any specific generator size. Report all hazardous waste you generated during the last calendar year, including spill debris and clean-outs, on your license application.

You do not need to notify the MPCA if your generator size increases, though you may request “resizing” down to your normal generator size following a spill or clean-out if you choose. Complete the Notification of regulated waste activity online e-services to update generator size.

Remember that if your generator size increases due to an unusual event, you must meet all the requirements for the larger generator size for the months you over generated, even if your facility is eligible for resizing. You can access more information about these requirements by reviewing: PDF icon Determine generator size (w-hw1-02)

Many recycled hazardous wastes are eligible for exemptions from the full hazardous waste requirements, sometimes including reporting, if you document that your recycled wastes met the eligibility conditions for each specific exemption. For guidance determining exactly how your recycled hazardous waste is regulated and how to report and document it, see hazardous waste fact sheet #2.42, PDF icon Recycling Hazardous Waste (w-hw2-42).

If you reclaim and reuse certain hazardous wastes on-site, such as with a recycling parts washer, you must still report that waste, though you are eligible for reductions in the amount of the waste you must count and report.

You may appeal the amount of your assessed fee. You must first pay the full invoiced amount by the due date, then send a written explanation of why you think the fee was incorrect to the MPCA at the address on your license application or send an email to the MPCA licensing staff. The MPCA will review your case and refund the fee if appropriate.

If you don't pay your fee by the due date, late fees and interest will be added. Your fee will then be sent to a collections agency, which may take any legal steps to recover the debt. The MPCA will not be able to issue you a new license, and if you continue to generate hazardous waste, you may be cited for generating a hazardous waste without a required license.

Your previous license will be automatically extended until you can access and print your new one as long as you have submitted a license application by the due date and paid your fee.

More information

Contact the MPCA for questions on your application, fees, or License.

  • Licensing questions: hw-licensing.pca@state.mn.us
  • Fee amount questions: hw-licensing.pca@state.mn.us
  • Fee payment questions: fee.pca@state.mn.us

For more information on identifying and managing hazardous waste in Minnesota, see the MPCA's Hazardous Waste Publications webpage.