Industrial Waste

Spill reporting requirements and procedures

State law authorizes Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) to enforce its waste discharge rules and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pretreatment regulations in the Twin Cities metro area.

The following spill reporting requirements apply to spills that have entered any sanitary sewer serviced by the Metropolitan Disposal System.

Who to call

Minnesota State Duty Officer


Provide the following information to the Duty Officer:
  • ​Material spilled
  • Quantity spilled
  • Date and time of spill
  • Location of spill
  • Site name
  • Site address
  • Description of what happened, current situation, and who has already been contacted

This is a 24-hour, one-call system for all state reporting requirements, established by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Unit. The Duty Officer records all pertinent information and then notifies other state and local agencies, including MCES.

Industries holding an MCES Industrial Discharge Permit are required to post this Spill Reporting Poster (PDF) in an area visible to employees.

For more information about spill reporting requirements, check out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Emergency Response Facts.

Who should make the call

Any person that has knowledge of a spill to the public sewers must immediately notify the Minnesota Duty Officer.

Any person responsible for a spill or release to the public sanitary sewers must take immediate action as is reasonably possible to stop the discharge. The responsible person shall perform any control and cleanup actions necessary to prevent additional accidental or prohibited discharge into the public sanitary sewers.

When to call - spills of concern

Call if any of the following are spilled into the public sewer system:

  • Toxic, flammable, corrosive, and otherwise dangerous industrial chemicals.
  • Slug discharges* of milk, sugar and other food products, since they can significantly impact or damage the operation of MCES’s biological wastewater treatment processes.
  • Any slug or batch discharge of wastewater in such volume or strength that is likely to cause interference, pass-through, or operational problems in the sewer system.

*A slug discharge is any waste discharge in concentration or quantity of flow exceeding four times the average concentration or flow rate of a normal operating day.

Note – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a 5-gallon minimum quantity for reporting petroleum spills. However, less than five gallons of flammable material in the sewer system could cause a significant explosion hazard and should be reported. If in doubt, report the spill.

When and what to report to MCES

A written report that describes the spill must be submitted to MCES by the responsible person within five calendar days after occurrence of the discharge. The report shall include the following information:
  1. Time, duration, and location of the discharge
  2. Description and quantity of the material or waste discharged including constituents and concentrations
  3. Cause of the accidental or prohibited slug discharge
  4. Actions taken to abate and clean up the accidental or prohibited slug discharge
  5. A schedule of corrective measures to prevent further occurrences

This MCES Spill Report Form should be used to complete the required written report.

Additional resources

Contact us

For additional information regarding spills to the sanitary sewer, please contact
Tim Rothstein