University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program

Regulatory Information for Vehicle Maintenance Facilities

MnTAP focuses on the prevention of wastes and leaves the regulatory enforcement and interpretation to the authorized agencies. However, MnTAP is dedicated to helping you manage your waste according to state and Federal regulations. Vehicle maintenance shops have a lot of regulated waste types due to fluids, chemicals and paints used, and MnTAP can help your facility meet the requirements.

Waste rules for solid waste, hazardous waste, air emissions and water discharges mostly come through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). These rules may be federal or state rules. The MPCA Transportation Services and the Environment Web page has a list of resources on environmental rules affecting the vehicle maintenance industry. Many of the waste topics have audit checklists to help you determine how your shop is performing.

Dedicated staff members at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are available to assist shops with compliance questions and provide up-to-date information on existing and upcoming environmental regulations.

  • Intro to HAPs and VOCs in the Auto Body Refinishing Sector [PDF 135KB]. This PowerPoint presentation presented by Mike Nelson, Small Business Obmudsman for the MPCA, at MEI’s Training and Demonstration Event in August 2008 overviews the Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) commonly emitted from auto body refinishing shops and provides information about new Federal Regulations (NESHAP).
  • MPCA Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP). SBEAP provides industry-specific resources and compliance assistance to the automotive repair and body shops in Minnesota.
  • NESHAP Assistance. MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program has compiled resources to assist businesses with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) compliance.

Health. Workers in autobody shops are potentially exposed to a variety of chemical and physical hazards. Chemical hazards may include volatile organics from paints, fillers and solvents; silica from sandblasting operations; dusts from sanding; and metal fumes from welding and cutting. Physical hazards include repetitive stress and other ergonomic injuries, noise, lifts, cutting tools, and oil and grease on walking surfaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor, has web resources for autobody repair and refinishing that cover industry hazards, controls, compliance and most common citations.

Material Safety Data Sheets. The Environment, Health and Safety Online offers free access to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). With over 25,000 direct MSDS sources, and hundreds of thousands more 1 more click away, this is the most complete MSDS source on the internet.

Shipping Rules. Shipping materials or wastes requires compliance with the U.S. and Minnesota Department of Transportation rules. Find information on shipping hazardous materials and trainings on this Web site.

Additional Regulations and Requirements

Aside from the wastes in drums, you have trash in your Dumpster, stormwater run-off, wash water and more. There are also rules for the air emissions you create during cleaning with solvents or during painting. Below are some additional links to answers to some of these common topics.

Air Regulation | Floor Trenches | Washing | Waste Reduction

Air Regulation

Floor Trenches

  • Managing Floor Drains and Flammable Traps [PDF 263KB]. This fact sheet discusses recommended waste management options for floor drains and flammable traps. Keeping hazardous substances out of drains and plumbing makes trap wastes easier and cheaper to manage.


  • Sewering Liquid Waste [PDF 134KB]. This fact sheet provides guidance to businesses generating any liquid waste that might be discharged to a drain system.
  • Septic Tank Systems Class V Rule [PDF 459KB]. U.S. EPA has requirements for motor vehicle waste disposal wells in order to protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination.
  • Pressure Wash/Power Wash Discharges. To legally discharge pressure-washer wash water, an NPDES permit is needed for each discharge location. Most NPDES permitted process water discharges require treatment and analysis of the discharge.

Waste Reduction

  • VSQG Collection Program Requirements for Generators [PDF 180KB]. Minnesota hazardous waste rules allow Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) to deliver their own waste in their own vehicle to a licensed VSQG collection program.
  • Stormwater Program for Industrial Activity. The objective of this permitting program, which is a part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, is to reduce the amount of pollution that enters surface and ground water from industrial facilities in the form of storm water runoff.
  • Basic Hazardous Waste Requirement for Businesses. Anyone who produces or manages a waste must determine whether or not the waste is hazardous. Hazardous waste requires special handling and disposal. This fact sheet outlines the 10 steps to compliance.
  • Requirements for Minimal Generators [PDF 155KB]. Learn what the requirements are for minimal generators in Minnesota, businesses that generate 100 pounds of hazardous waste or less per year.

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