Water permits and forms

MPCA water quality permits establish specific limits and requirements to protect Minnesota's surface and groundwater quality for a variety of uses, including drinking water, fishing and recreation. Permits are regularly reviewed and updated as they expire, allowing the MPCA to incorporate new information about the impacts of pollutants to the environment in subsequent permits. Permits are enforced through a combination of self-reporting (reports to the MPCA, U.S. EPA or both) and compliance monitoring.

Instructions for completing and submitting application forms

To apply for a water quality permit, look through the following list of instructions and forms to select those appropriate for your project. If you'd like assistance or have questions about the forms, please contact the MPCA at 651-296-6300, or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864. When you have completed your application, submit two copies of each form to Fiscal Services — 6th floor, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4194.

Pre-application meetings

Some facilities and projects may benefit from a pre-application meeting with the MPCA prior to the completion and submission of a permit application. Water permit applications for new or expanding discharges are the most likely type that may benefit from pre-application submittals.

Specific activities that may warrant a pre-application meeting include a preliminary effluent limit determination, variance requests, anti-degradation review, an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and facilities that may require permits from multiple MPCA programs.


While the MPCA is not the primary agency processing wetland permits, the agency does review them after other appropriate environmental agencies. If you plan to conduct activities that may impact wetlands, visit the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources web site:

Phosphorus links

  • MPCA Phosphorus Strategy. One part of the MPCA's comprehensive phosphorus strategy is a strategy for addressing phosphorus in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting. The purpose of the NPDES Phosphorus Strategy is to develop a consistent framework for applying phosphorus controls in permits, which outlines the variables to be considered by MPCA staff in making decisions on what should be included in a permit.
  • Phosphorus Management Plan Development Resources. Use a template to help prepare Phosphorus Management Plans for wastewater treatment facilities. A checklist, tip sheet and fact sheets are also included to help identify sources of phosphorus and evaluate strategies for phosphorus reduction. Read about how industries and businesses have successfully reduced phosphorus effluent to wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit. This permit, issued on December 1, 2006, is derived from the Lower Minnesota River Watershed Dissolved Oxygen TMDL. It regulates the discharge of phosphorus from NPDES sources in the Minnesota River Basin and establishes a pollutant trading program.

Water quality permit fees

Information about MPCA fees for water quality permits is available on the following page: