Public Works

350 South 5th Street
RM 203 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

Rainleader Ordinance Factsheet

Title 3, Chapter 56, Prohibited Discharges to Sanitary Sewer

The City of Minneapolis has been pursuing an aggressive campaign of separating its sanitary sewer system from its stormwater drainage system to reduce the number of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).

For more information about this issue, see: Combined Sewer Overflow, A Minneapolis Solution .


Rooftop drains (rainleaders) that are connected to the sanitary sewer system are one of the major contributors of CSO’s. Residential and commercial buildings, if built before 1961, sometimes have drain pipes that lead underground directly into the sanitary sewer system, rather than through gutters to lawns or the stormwater drainage system. These must be disconnected from the sanitary sewer.

The purpose of the Rainleader Ordinance is to define regulations that will aid the City in limiting inflow of rainwater to the sanitary sewer system. It authorizes the City to:

Summary of the Ordinance

For more information: See the full text of Minneapolis Ordinance (Title 3, Chapter 56).


If an inspection of your property identifies a prohibited discharge source, you will receive official notification from the City.

Note: Disconnection is required for all prohibited sources defined in this ordinance. This includes any that may previously have been allowed.

You must complete the disconnection by the date specified in your notification document. Before beginning the work, you must obtain a permit from the City. There are no fees for a Rainleader Disconnection permit. Permits are valid for one year.

All work performed under a rainleader disconnection permit must:

What you do to redirect the stormwater runoff after disconnection must not cause damage to adjacent structures or property.

If you haven't completed the work to the City's satisfaction by the due date or after expiration of any and all time extensions, you will be found in violation of the ordinance. Starting in 2007, administrative citations with a possible fine may be issued to violators. Violators can be subject to a fine or imprisonment (not to exceed 90 days) or both. If a fine has been imposed and remains unpaid, the offender can be imprisoned until the fine is paid.

In addition, any City license held by the property owner to conduct a business on that property may be revoked for failure to comply.

Last updated Jan 20, 2012