City ties pollution fees to impact

Big polluters will pay more to the city in pollution control fees after Minneapolis changed the way it assesses those fees on businesses this spring.

The restructuring also eases the financial burden on small businesses and businesses that have installed pollution control equipment. Nearly 4,000 small businesses, office buildings and religious institutions will no longer be charged sanitary sewer fees, and businesses already trying to limit their environmental impact could be eligible for exemptions, the city reported in April.

Businesses that pollute more will have to pay more under the new fee structure. The goal is to encourage those businesses to make upgrades or adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

Businesses pay pollution control fees on equipment and operations that impact the environment, including pollutants discharged to the air or sanitary sewer system, and the money generated is used to pay for city pollution control and remediation efforts. The fees also fund cost-share programs that help businesses like dry cleaners and auto repair shops make pollution-reducing upgrades.