Small Business Enterprise

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Small Business Enterprise

News from the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

In this edition:

Ethylene oxide grants


MPCA is offering approximately $125,000 in grant funding to reduce air emissions from ethylene oxide sterilization and manufacturing of products with ethylene oxide or its derivatives. The maximum award is $25,000 with a 25% match requirement. Review grant materials, application, and Q&A on the MPCA ethylene oxide grants page.

Apply now! The deadline for submitting a grant application is August 28, 2020

Learn about ethylene oxide and what is occurring nationally and in Minnesota on the MPCA ethylene oxide website at

TCE: the partial ban

The trichloroethylene (TCE) partial ban legislation was signed in May 2020. The text of the new law: Minn. Stat. 116.385 Trichloroethylene; Ban

The ban becomes effective June 2022 and will apply only to sites required to have an air quality permit from the MPCA. Businesses with less than 500 full time employees may apply to for a one year extension.

  • A facility is not subject to the ban if it is exempted from needing an air quality permit by following specific requirements as a conditionally exempt source.
  • A facility is not subject to the ban if it has potential air emissions below air quality permit thresholds, such as an insignificant facility.

Contacts and resources

Watch MnTAP’s TCE alternatives webinars and training videos to help you find out if you are using TCE at your business and other short videos on TCE. 

TCE: small business loans

The MPCA has made up to $250,000 in Small Business Environmental Improvement Loans available at zero-percent interest to small businesses for installation and equipment purchases associated with a switch from the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) to an alternative demonstrated to be less toxic.

Loan terms and conditions:

  • Loan amount between $1,000 and $75,000
  • Interest rate: Zero percent (0%)
  • Repayment term up to seven years
  • Flexibility in the types of collateral accepted
  • Awarded throughout the year

See more information on the small business improvement loans for TCE reduction.

Alternatives to TCE

There are many reasons to avoid using trichloroethylene (TCE). Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) has been engaged in a project with the University of Massachusetts’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute to find safer alternatives to trichloroethylene (TCE). To help businesses throughout the state determine if they use TCE and find safer solutions, MnTAP has put together a suite of no cost technical assistance resources to facilitate a safer switch away from TCE. A wealth of information and assistance is available on MnTAP’s TCE Alternatives website at:

Minnesota clean diesel off-road DERA grant

Clean Diesel Projects

MPCA is now accepting applications to fund the replacement or improvement of heavy-duty off-road equipment that is eligible under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Approximately $1.1 million is available for projects that reduce emissions from older, diesel-powered off-road equipment.

This grant aims to encourage owners toward choosing new, cleaner diesel, alternative fuels, hybrid or all-electric models. Eligible equipment may include marine engines, locomotives, trailer refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and off-road engines, and equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production.

Applications are due September 18, 2020.

MPCA will host an informational webinar on this RFP on Wednesday, July 15 at 1:00 pm. Full details, including eligibility, grant match amounts, and other information for submitting an application is available at

If you have any questions, please contact

Managing mercury in dental wastewater

Announcing the new guidance and list of MPCA-approved amalgam separator/dental wastewater list. Check out the new website full of information at

When dentists work on teeth containing mercury amalgam fillings, even if the dentist is not placing new mercury amalgam fillings themselves, dental wastewater may be contaminated with mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal. Mercury amalgam scraps and sludge need to be collected in an amalgam separator collection containers to prevent mercury from contaminating wastewater.

Have questions about dental wastewater? Send your questions to

Air toxics: learn about potential mandatory reporting

Currently, Minnesota facilities with air permits report emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs, also known as air toxics) voluntarily every 3 years, during the annual air emissions inventory report. Discussions are under way to make this reporting mandatory.

The MPCA is interested in your input on what a rule should include, how air toxics information is used, and how to streamline reporting for facilities while ensuring high-quality data. Please join us for a webinar about the current Minnesota air toxics reporting structure and what a potential mandatory reporting rule could include.

Webinar July 16th, 2020, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. CDT

WebEx link to join meeting

  • Access code: 146 312 3668
  • Password: 7ktTmMAy863

Or join by phone at (415) 655-0003

If you cannot attend this webinar, a recording will be posted and comments will be accepted by phone and email until July 31st, 2020. For more information about the webinar or potential rule change, contact or 651-757-2007.