PUB98 - Introduction

Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Department of Natural Resources Director: Carol S. Comer


Do I need a permit?
If you’re seeking an environmental permit, registration or certification for your business, school, community, or activity, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Pemit Assistant can help! This tool is designed to help users determine what type of environmental permits they need and provide the forms to apply for these permits. This easy-to-use tool will ask you a few simple questions to determine your needs. The Pemit Assistant is available online.

Why are permits important?
Permits help ensure environmental standards are met so Missourians can continue to enjoy healthy air, safe drinking water, clean streams and usable soil. After a permit is issued other tools such as compliance assistance, inspection and enforcement, come into play to protect or enhance Missouri’s environment and to protect the health of the state’s citizens.

If a project involves federal funds or has federal agency involvement, a Section 106 review is needed to protect cultural and historical resources. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires a review of all projects that involve properties or geographical areas presently on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The term permitting includes a variety of activities including permits, certifications, licenses and registrations.

We can help!
Read this publication thoroughly if you are planning an activity that could affect the state’s air, water, land, mineral, or cultural resources. Then contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources about the permits you may need. Help is available through our offices located throughout Missouri (The phone numbers are listed at the end of this introduction). Staff are available to meet with you before an application is submitted to help ensure a complete application is submitted. A map and list of the department’s regional offices is available online or call 800-361-4827.

How do I apply for a permit?
Most environmental permits require you to submit an application, a filing fee and supporting documentation. The specific requirements and procedures for each type of permit vary depending on the state and federal laws and the related rules. Many applications forms are available online.

Supporting documentation may include engineering reports, plans and specifications prepared by a registered professional engineer, geological evaluations or reclamation plans. Other required supporting materials may include performance bonds, financial assurance instruments, preconstruction modeling or monitoring.

Department staff will review your application after it’s submitted. As a general rule, it takes longer to process complex projects or those that affect several environmental areas, such as permits involving both air and water resources.

How can I help speed up the review process?
Make sure the application is complete. If the department must request additional information, the permit review is suspended, and no further action is taken until the required information is received. Be sure to allow for review time and submit your application well in advance of anticipated work or deadlines.

What about public participation requirements?
At some point in the review process, many permits have a public participation requirement. A public notice is published, and a public hearing may be held to provide citizens an opportunity to comment about a proposed permit. The public comment period varies but is usually 30 to 90 days. After receiving comments from the public, the department may modify a permit or request additional information from an applicant. In addition, commissions associated with the department also must approve some permits.

When you receive your permit...
Each permit issued by the department is a legal document. In applying for and accepting a permit, you agree to abide by its terms and conditions. When you receive a permit read it carefully to look for errors. If you have questions about your permit, call your nearest regional office or the program that issued the permit. After you have read and understand the permit, make sure those who use it most read it and keep it readily available.

What should I do after I receive the permit?
Again, be sure to keep the permit readily available. Department staff will conduct inspections to determine if your business is in compliance with permit conditions. Remember, state and federal environmental laws provide severe penalties for violating the requirements of the law or permit conditions, and for failing to obtain a permit when one is required.

Can I transfer permits?
If you are selling or buying a facility that has environmental permits, sometimes these permits can be easily transferred from seller to buyer without going through the entire permitting process. For information about permit transfers call the department at 800-361-4827 or visit Guide to Missouri Department of Natural Resources Permit Transfers (PUB541).

If you are selling or buying a facility that has environmental permits,  A Guide to Missouri Department of Natural Resources Permit Transfers (PUB541) describes the situations where specific permits can be easily transferred from seller to buyer without going through the entire permitting process. For information on permit transfers call the department at 800-361-4827.

Laws and statutes related to environmental permits
The federal regulations referred to in this document for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is available in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFRs are available from the United States Government Printing Office, your local library, or online.

The regulations for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) are found in Title 10 of the Missouri Code of State Regulations (CSR). The CSRs are available from the Secretary of State’s Office at:

Kirkpatrick State Information Center
600 W. Main Street
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102

The CSRs can also are available online.

A brief description of environmental services
The department's Division of Enviromental Quality (DEQ) consists of six programs: Air Pollution Control Program (APCP), Environmental Services Program (ESP), Hazardous Waste Program (HWP), Soil and Water Conservation Program (SWCP), Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP), and Water Protection Program (WPP). Its mission is to help Missourians prevent pollution, protect the public from harmful emissions, discharges and waste disposal practices.

The division oversees the department’s five regional offices, and other essential field activities. A map and list of the regional offices is available online or contact DEQ at 800-361-4827.

The Environmental Services Program (ESP) supports the other programs in the department that need accurate scientific data for their work. To obtain this data, the Environmental Services Program performs field work, conducts monitoring, collects samples and provides laboratory testing for environmental pollutants.

A list of online services is available to our customers. The page will help you to reach online systems for submitting information, querying data and reaching automated forms. Please call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at 800-361-4827 for additional assistance or questions.

Pollution prevention
Pollution prevention is simply not making the waste (or pollutant) in the first place. It means doing what we can to reduce the amount and toxicity of the pollution generated or energy consumed. Preventing pollution may be something as simple as buying products with little or no packaging or something as complex as redesigning your operation to increase efficiency and reduce waste. Simple things like choosing nonhazardous solvents and cleaners can protect the environment and reduce the number of environmental regulations you are faced with. Pollution prevention means thinking about the environmental impact of your actions and trying to limit that impact.

Pollution prevention was established as a national policy through the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Congress defined pollution prevention as:

Any practice which reduces the amount of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.

Congress established a hierarchy of preferred pollution prevention methods. Source reduction is the preferred method with recycling, treatment, and disposal listed in descending order of preference. Disposal should always be the last resort. To achieve maximum benefits, a facility's pollution prevention program should have two distinct parts. The first is the general, overall pollution prevention plan, that encompasses the entire facility, and the initial requirements to get a pollution prevention program started. The second portion deals with the details of doing pollution prevention opportunity assessments on specific activities or processes.

When we generate waste or pollution, we must safely and legally manage that waste or pollution. Whether it is household trash or waste from a business, managing wastes costs money. Usually the things we discard are items we bought. A good example is paper towels. We buy them, use them once, and then pay again to have them disposed of. If we reduce the amount of waste we generate, we save money. It’s as simple as that. Reducing costs is a major reason to prevent pollution. Here are a few others:

Improved work environment and worker safety

Pollution prevention makes sense. Pollution prevention techniques not only resolve or reduce environmental quality issues or problems, but also save money. By reducing expenses, pollution prevention improves both the competitiveness and efficiency of business and industry.

For further assistance
You may contact any of our offices in the department at the following phone numbers. A map and list of the department’s regional offices is available online or call 800-361-4827. The offices listed below are located in Jefferson City unless otherwise noted.

Division of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control, 573-751-4817
Hazardous Waste, 573-751-3176
Solid Waste Management, 573-751-5401
Water Protection Program, Public Drinking Water Branch, 573-751-5331, Water Pollution Control, 573-751-1300

Regional Offices
Kansas City, 816-251-0700
Northeast (Macon), 660-385-8000
St. Louis, 314-416-2960
Southeast (Poplar Bluff), 573-840-9750
Southwest (Springfield), 417-891-4300

Missouri Geological Survey (Rolla)
573-368-2100 or 573-368-2143

Land Reclamation, 573-751-4041
Water Resources Center, 573-751-2867

Dam Safety (Rolla), 573-368-2175

Major Water Users, 573-368-2175

State Parks
State Historic Preservation Office, 573-751-7858

If you have other environmental concerns not described here, or if you believe you will require assistance with a permit application or other compliance issues, call the department toll free at 800-361-4827.