Minnesota Wastewater Variances regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Minnesota Wastewater Variances: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Fundamentally different factors (FDF) variance: MR 7049.0485

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Minnesota water quality standards: Minnesota Rules (MR) 7000.7000, MR 7050.0190, and MR 7053.0195

Regulatory Agencies

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Minnesota has adopted the federal rules for wastewater and fundamentally different factors (FDF) variances, with specific provisions for variance application, amendment, modification, and suspension, in addition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. For additional guidance, see the national section WASTEWATER VARIANCES.

Administration and enforcement. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) administers and enforces wastewater variance rules for both large and small facilities in Minnesota.

State Requirements


MR 7000.7000, MR 7050.0190, MR 7053.0195

The MPCA, at its discretion, may grant a variance of the state effluent standards. A "variance" is a temporary change in a state water standard for a specified pollutant. To obtain a variance, a discharger is required to demonstrate to the MPCA that the permittee has met the following conditions:

  • The variance would not jeopardize the existence of an endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of the species' critical habitat;
  • The water quality standards will be attained by implementing effluent limitations required under the Clean Water Act; and
  • The variance would not remove an existing use.

To obtain a variance, a discharger must submit a written application for a variance to the MPCA.

The written application must contain:

  • The name and address of the ...

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