Hazardous waste licensing

Businesses, nonprofit organizations and units of government that generate most types of hazardous waste at sites in 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.

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, even if their generation, storage and disposal are regulated by the MPCA. See hazardous waste fact sheet #1.01, Step 1: PDF icon Evaluate waste (w-hw1-01), for guidance.

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.

Next, if you generate more than 100 pounds (about 10 gallons) of reportable hazardous waste a year, you can submit your license application any time after that year has past using MPCA’s e-Service.  For example, you can submit hazardous waste generated in 2015 any time between January and August of 2016.  If you generate less than 100 pounds (about 10 gallons) you will report every third year.  Instructions for completing the license application can be found in the following document.

PDF icon Hazardous Waste License Application e-Service Instructions (w-hw5-13)

Applications can be submitted any time after January 1 – August 1 of the following year.  For example, 2016 hazardous waste generators license application can be submitted between January 1, 2017, and August 1, 2017.  Be sure to follow all instructions for the application.

If you generate 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 you do not have Internet access, you can request a paper application by calling the Hazardous Waste Licensing Helpline at 651-296-2412.

If you generate 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, currently every three years. 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, but has recently ranged between $400 and $500. 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?

You can review the information you have submitted through the MPCA's e-Service.

Common hazardous waste licensing "What if...?" 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.

Remember that HWIDs are permanently assigned to sites. If you moved to a new site during the last calendar year or after, first 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.

If you did not generate any hazardous waste during the last calendar year, but you may again, enter a '0' in the amount column for the applicable waste line on the license application. You will be sent another license application reminder next year.

If you permanently stopped generating any hazardous waste, delete the information by clicking the red “X” in the remove column for that row. You will only have to verify your information to the MPCA every three years.

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 overgenerated, even if your facility is eligible for resizing.

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.