Heavy equipment moving garbage at a landfillMinnesota disposes of some if its waste or garbage in landfills. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regulates the ongoing operations of open landfills as well as the closure and maintenance of closed landfills.

Closed Landfill Program

The MPCA is authorized and mandated under the Landfill Cleanup Act (LCA) to initiate cleanup actions and take over long-term operation and maintenance at qualified closed state-permitted landfills throughout Minnesota.

For more information, see Closed Landfill Program page.

Open landfills

Open landfills are regulated by Minn. Rules 7001 and 7035. They actively accept, under the terms and conditions of a MPCA permit, certain types of wastes for disposal. They are part of a larger and integrated collection of open solid waste management facilities that process, transfer and receive waste for disposal in Minnesota.

Open landfills fall into several categories, which include: demolition, industrial, mixed municipal and municipal waste combustor ash. See the links below for information about open landfills in Minnesota.

Mixed municipal solid waste means garbage, refuse, and other solid waste from residential, commercial, industrial, and community activities. It does not include auto hulks, street sweepings, ash, construction debris, mining waste, sludges, tree and agricultural wastes, tires, lead acid batteries, motor and vehicle fluids and filters, and other materials collected, processed, and disposed of as separate waste streams.


"Dump" is a common term used by the public that could mean a landfill in either the MPCA open landfill or Closed Landfill Programs, or a landfill in neither program. The MPCA defines "dumps" as landfills that never held a valid permit from the agency. Generally, dumps existed before the permitting program was established with the creation of the MPCA in 1967.

Minnesota has about 1,800 old dumps (unpermitted mixed municipal solid waste sites). Prior to 1967, people disposed of garbage by dumping it in pits, ravines or wetlands. The MPCA conducted a "dump assessment study" (published in 2001) to get a better understanding of the environmental and economic impacts of old dumps.