University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
http://www.mntap.umn.edu
612.624.1300

Regulatory Information for Printers

Printers must comply with multiple environmental, health, and safety regulations. On this page, we provide a brief introduction to regulatory information and requirements as well as some fact sheets from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). We highlight environmental areas of concern to the majority of small and medium-sized screenprinters in Minnesota; however, additional regulatory requirements may also apply.

What can be sewered?

  • Process wastewater cannot go to a septic system without prior approval.
  • Generally, photoprocessing chemicals can be sewered, provided the silver has been removed from the spent fixer.
  • Often the wastewater associated with screen reclamation can be sewered. This tends to be the case with wastewater where the solids (ink and screen emulsion) have been filtered out prior to discharge. Check with your sewer authority first. In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, contact the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) at 651.602.4704.

How do I manage solvent and ink waste?

  • Generally, this type of waste must be managed as a hazardous waste. Requirements exist for storage, labeling, tracking, training, and reporting, depending on the total quality of hazardous waste produced. A license may be required. In the Twin Cities area, contact your county hazardous waste office, listed below. In Greater Minnesota, contact your regional MPCA office, also listed below.
  • Have you checked for lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium in your inks? If they are present, ask your supplier to provide inks that do not contain these metals.

What requirements exist for rags and wipes?

  • Requirements will depend on what solvents you use and what ink contaminants exist. Launderable towels where solvent has been wrung out can go to a permitted commercial laundry facility. For more information, call your county or MPCA office as suggested above.

How do I know if I need an air permit?

  • If your company uses less than 200 gallons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) a year, an air permit is likely not required. Check your material safety data sheets (MSDS) and ask your supplier for assistance. Your company needs to keep records of quantities used each month.
  • If you use more than the above quantity, you can get assistance with possible permit requirements by calling the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at the MPCA at 651.282.6143 or 1.800.657.3938.

How do I ensure proper disposal of empty containers, fluorescent bulbs, oil waste?

  • Contact your county or the MPCA.

Contact Information

Metropolitan Counties Environmental OfficesMore complete information about these topics or other environmental requirements that may apply to your company can be obtained by calling the MPCA or your county.

The Environmental Guide for Small Businesses in Minnesota provides information to help small companies with environmental requirements.

Anoka County 612.422.7093
Carver County 612.361.1800
Dakota County 612.891.7011
Hennepin County 612.348.8100
Ramsey County 651.773.4466
Scott County 612.496.8177
Washington County 651.430.6655

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (statewide) 800.657.3938 or 651.282.6143
Brainerd 218.828.2492
Detroit Lakes 218.847.1519
Duluth 218.723.4660
Mankato 507.389.6713
Marshall 507.537.7146
Rochester 507.285.7343

MPCA Fact Sheets

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