A composting facility is substantially different from a backyard compost pile. Large-scale compost facilities closely monitor and have practices in place to ensure conditions are ideal for composting.
Food waste sites
Professional composters manage Source Separated Organic materials such as food scraps, compostable products and yard waste at large scale composting facilities. These facilities will operate under a Source Separated Organics Materials (SSOM) permit or as a Solid Waste Compost permit. The SSOM permit type was established in late 2014 to reflect an update to Minnesota’s compost rules.
Permits require compost facilities to have appropriate design, operation, and maintenance standards. Operational practices include detailed requirements for handling incoming organics materials, odor management, staff training, contact water, curing compost, and safety of the and finished compost products.
In the 1990s when many of the rules governing these facilities were adopted many composters were attempting to compost Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and then to later remove the materials (metals, plastics, etc.) that were not suitable for composting. In the last 20 years, compost facilities have almost universally switched to only accepting Source Separated Organic Materials. Some of the facilities that were operating prior to the 2014 rule changes still have solid waste compost permits, despite now focusing only on source separated materials.
Establishing an SSOM facility
- SSOM compost facility application checklist (sw3-54)
- Checklist for a Site Suitability Workplan for a Source-Separated Compost Facility (w-sw3-52)
Establishing a solid waste compost facility
For more information, visit MPCA's solid waste permitting web page.
Yard waste only sites
Yard waste includes garden waste, leaves, lawn clippings, weeds, shrub and tree waste, and pruning. These materials have been banned from Minnesota landfills since 1992.
Site location, design, and management must follow state composting rules outlined in Minn. Rules 7035.2836.
Outlines what information is required to complete and submit the online notification form.
Acknowledges that counties and local authorities were notified. This form must be included in MPCA's e-Services notification.
- Commingling Residential Organics with Yard Waste
- Continuation & Expansion of the Commercial & Residential Co-collected Organics Compost Project
- Aspergillusem Fungus Spores from Yard Waste Compost Facilities
- Yard Waste Compost Facilities - Inert Material Testing
Other rules and regulations
Other state agencies have rules concerning composting.
- Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulates composting of farm animal mortalities
- MnDOT Standard Specifications for Construction: Specification 3890 outlines the quality and use of compost for its turf establishment project
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulates the labeling and fees of compost sold as fertilizer. See Minn. Rules 1510.0430 - 1510.0434