The Pollution Control Agency was created in 1967 to replace the Water Pollution Control Commission and assume all of its authority and responsibility for air and water pollution control and solid waste disposal (Laws 1967 c882). It has authority to administer and enforce all laws relating to water, air, and noise pollution in the state, plus additional responsibilities in regulating solid waste disposal, pollution-related land use planning, and toxic and hazardous waste disposal.
The agency originally had three divisions. The Division of Water Quality collects water quality data and establishes standards, provides engineering and technical assistance to wastewater treatment facilities, and issues permits for treatment facilities. The Air Quality Division maintains air quality standards in high pollutant areas, tries to prevent deterioration of air quality in clean-air areas, and enforces state noise standards. The Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste issues permits for solid and hazardous waste facilities, oversees planning and development of solid waste management plans, and develops an over-all strategy for ground-water protection. In 1971 the Division of Special Services was created, which conducted long-range planning and research on environmental impacts not explored by the other divisions, developed plans and new programs and was responsible for special pollution problems. This division was terminated in 1975.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizens' Board considered and made decisions on varied and complex pollution problems that affect areas of the state. The agency board originally had seven members but this was changed to nine in 1969 (Laws 1969 c1038). The members were appointed by the governor to four-year terms. An executive director, appointed by the governor, was administrative head of the agency. Five district offices--in Rochester, Marshall, Fergus Falls, Brainerd, and Duluth--investigated complaints relating to water, air, or land pollution. They also advised regional planning boards, city councils, and township boards.
Effective 17 September 1993, solid and hazardous waste planning and assistance programs were transferred from the Office of Waste Management and incorporated in the Pollution Control Agency (Reorganization Order No.169, 18 August 1993, Arne Carlson).
In 2015, the MPCA Citizens' Board was eliminated by a Laws of Minnesota 2015, 1st Spec. Sess. chapter 4, article 4, sections 114-117.