Small Business Enterprise - May edition

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Small Business Enterprise

News from the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

In this issue

    Wayzata dry cleaner greens up operations with MPCA small business loan

    Wayzata loan

    The family-owned Wayzata Home Laundry & Dry Cleaners began using perchloroethylene (perc), a common dry cleaning chemical, in 1968. The current owner, Kevin Dynan, remembers being around it as a young boy helping his parents run the same shop.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has since classified perc as a “likely carcinogen.” And there is growing industry momentum to switch to less-toxic alternatives. Recently, Minneapolis became the first U.S. city have perc-free drycleaning.

    Dynan was used to perc, and for a long time had no interest in changing, even after an on-site environmental cleanup from legal dumping decades earlier. Things shifted when he added a wet-cleaning process that uses biodegradable soap and water, and often get clothes cleaner than using perc. But he still needed his older perc machines for items not able to be wet-cleaned. The machines used lots of fuel and required expensive repairs. Perc is also expensive hazardous waste to manage and heavily taxed. Due to these costs and the success of the wet-cleaning, he finally decided to switch to hydrocarbon machines.

    He used a MPCA small business loan to purchase new equipment. He credited Hennepin County and the MPCA for being very accommodating. “All I had to do was sign the dotted line and send a check once a month,” he said. A good installation crew and mechanics also helped.

    Dynan says he’s been happy with the change since he ran the first load. “The process is gentle on the clothes, and the customers are happier.” It’s been 6 months and he has yet to fill a container of waste hydrocarbon solution, which is much less expensive to dispose of.

    Many other small businesses - such as breweries, gas stations, and printers - can get help buying environmental capital equipment with the MPCA’s small business environmental loan program. Benefits include an easy application process, flexible collateral options, a competitive interest rate, and a long 7-year payback. Contact Eric David at 651-757-2218 to learn more.

    Building owners required to have recycling for business tenants

    Business Recycling

    Recycling is required in many Twin Cities metro area businesses, and has been since January 1, 2016. Building owners are responsible for compliance, and must provide recycling for facilities under its control. Read full text of the state law and the MPCA commercial recycling FAQs for more.

    Who must recycle

    Commercial buildings owned in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington counties that produce four or more cubic yards of trash per week must recycle (a 6 by 4 by 5 ft dumpster). Specifically, it applies to businesses classified as 42-81 under the North American Industrial Classification System such as hotels, restaurants, retail stores, dry cleaners, theaters, medical offices, financial and law firms, insurance companies, repair shops, and many others.

    What must be recycled?

    At least three recyclable materials must be collected, like paper, glass, plastic, metal, and food waste.  Less common business-specific or hard to recycle wastes count as one stream, such as restaurant grease or plastic strapping. Single-sort recycling meets the requirement as long as three or more different materials are put in one container.

    Is each business in a multi-tenant building required to recycle?

    Yes. This can be done several ways, depending on open space in the building and the types and amounts of materials. If tenants create similar recyclables, a central collection area in a trash room or loading dock is an efficient way to provide recycling for everyone.

    Building owners: Some tenants may produce significantly different recyclables. Be prepared to provide flexible options to accommodate their needs.

    Tenants: Work with your building owner on options that work for all or most of the tenants. Be willing to seek out separate recycling services for unique or business-specific materials such as plastic wrap, plastic strapping, textiles, or wood pallets.


    The MPCA recognizes not all building owners/businesses were in compliance when the law went into effect, and remain out of compliance today. MPCA's strategy for enforcing any law starts with outreach and assistance and encourages all businesses to contact us for help understand the commercial recycling law and take advantage of the many resources available to comply with the law.

    Anyone may submit a complaint about a business that does not recycle. Email the business name, address including city, and relevant details to If a business fails to meet requirements, it can lead to possible enforcement action that could include a monetary penalty.

    Sunnyside Marina in Stillwater reuses wash water, eliminating water bound for river

    Aerial Sunnyside marina

    The success of any marina depends directly on the quality and desirability of the waterway on which it operates. So complying with stormwater and wastewater regulations tops any marina’s priority list. Sunnyside is no exception, but they decided to go even more efficient and sustainable with the water they use for boat washing. The majority of boat washing occurs during a six-week period in the fall, when they wash nearly 250 boats and use about 10,000 gallons of water.

    In 2015, Sunnyside installed a collection system that treats and recycles wash water. The water is reused to wash more boats and prevent run-off. The results are impressive. They have reduced wash water entering the St. Croix River by 100 percent. By recycling, boat washing water use has decreased by 80%.

    These efforts go above and beyond their stormwater and wastewater regulations, enhancing the St. Croix River by reducing, reusing, and recycling boat wash water and rainwater. Sunnyside Marina was featured recently on the MPCA homepage. They have been recognized for their many environmental activities through the Minnesota Clean Marina Program.

    Reducing water use has big impacts at several MN companies

    Fulton intern

    MnTAP’s intern program provided on-site technical assistance to several Minnesota businesses last year to reduce their water use and achieve cost and environmental savings. One way to save money is by lowering a facility’s SAC charge, or sewer availability fee. Charged mainly by the Metropolitan Council to all properties, there are initial connection fees and fees when a business grows, to reflect increased demand on the wastewater system.

    Project Success: Fulton Brewing

    Fulton Brewing sought to reduce water use and effluent strength to lower their SAC charges. They discovered the dead yeast, hops, and other fermentation waste from the brewhouse accounted for 2/3 of the total TSS and COD in the effluent. Collecting and dewatering this stream would capture 115,000 lbs of solids that could be added to spent grain animal feed, and save $9,200 per year. The intern also found ways to save 410,000 gallons of water per year by installing flatjet nozzles in the kettle, recycling rinse water on the canning line, and recirculating water from the vacuum pump on the bottling line.

    Project Success: WEG Electric Machinery, Inc.

    WEG Electric Machinery was using about 1.8 million gallons of water per year to keep motors cool during testing and to cool welders. The business recognized the inefficiency in single pass cooling water, and sought a cost-effective, sustainable solution. Air-cooled heat exchangers were identified as an alternative for motor testing, and water recirculation loops for spot welder and machine enclosure cooling. WEG is gradually implementing these and other changes, which will eliminate nearly all process water use on site.

    See how MnTAP activities resulted in nearly 60,000,000 gallons of industrial water efficiency in their 2017 environmental benefits report.

    Regulatory air update: proposed air quality rules for small sources open for comment until May 29

    The MPCA announced last month it is amending air quality rules in Minnesota Rules chapters 7005, 7007, 7008, 7011, and 7019, and published notice of the proposed rules in the State Register.

    The MPCA is proposing rules that exempt very small facilities, such as auto-body shops, coating facilities, and woodworking facilities from needing an air permit if they meet certain requirements. These types of facilities are especially encouraged to comment on the proposed rules.

    How to comment on proposed rules

    The proposed rules are available for review and comment on the proposed rules webpage. Click on “Rulemaking documents” to find the proposed rule text. You may also want to read parts of the “Statement of need and reasonableness.” It describes why the rules were written, who they are likely to affect, and what the expected results are.

    Submit comments on the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings rulemaking e-comments website at

    There are several sections, so state which part of the rules you are commenting on. Say who you are and what your interest in the rules is. Describe any concerns you have. Call out parts of the rules you like. Offer suggested changes for aspects you don’t like. You can provide as much or as little detail as you are comfortable with.

    Staff working on the rule will read each comment, post the comments and responses, and make appropriate changes to the rule.

    Find related rule documents, sign up for email notices, review materials from the May 10 public meeting, and more on the Exempt Source/Conditionally Insignificant Activities Rule webpage.

    Follow us on Twitter for regulatory and sustainability resources for the MN small business community!