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For many people who start a business, filing for a business license, building permit, or even an environmental permit, is required. Often, you’ll need more than one.

Does My Small Business Need an Environmental Permit?

Not every business needs an environmental permit, but if you plan to conduct any activities that do the following, you should check with your city’s business licenses, permits & tax department to find out what you need to do to file an environmental permit:

  • Activities that release pollutants into the air, land, water, or sewers, such as spraying plants with pesticides
  • Activities involving storing, transmitting, or disposing hazardous wastes, such as used motor oil
  • Any other activities that could have a negative impact on the environment

If your company will be involved in one or more of the following, you may need an environmental license:

  • Agricultural Products
  • Air (air emissions, burn permits)
  • Aquatic Pesticides
  • Construction and Development
  • Discharge of Wastewater or Stormwater to Ground or a Municipal Treatment Plant
  • Drinking Water
  • Land Resources, Archaeology, and Historic Preservation
  • Waste, Toxic, Chemical Products, or Substances
  • Water Use
  • Work in or Near Water

Why are There So Many Environmental Laws for Businesses?

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to ensure that our lands, water, and air are healthy enough for generations to come. We’ve discovered through research that many materials that businesses use to make their work easier -- such as pesticides for farmers -- actually are hurting our environment.

To that end, the EPA puts laws and regulations in place, and requires business licenses for companies that perform activities it deems harmful to the environment. Having an environmental permit says that you agree to comply with the EPA and your state’s requirements in your industry, that you’ll dispose of hazardous wastes per the guidelines, and that you’ll do your part not to pollute our world.

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