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:
- Perform inspections to identify sources of prohibited stormwater runoff discharge into the sanitary sewer system
- Require identified sources to be disconnected from the sanitary sewer system
- Issue Administrative Citations to continuing violators. The first Citation includes a fine of $750, the second Citation includes a fine of $1,500, the third and all subsequent Citations are $2,000.
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:
- be done in accordance with State and City rules and regulations;
- be permanent – no temporary caps or plugs (such as internal gripper plugs) can be placed on disconnected drains;
- be inspected after work is completed and before being covered up and concealed.
What you do to redirect the stormwater runoff after disconnection must not cause damage to adjacent structures or property.
- A time extension may be requested for one, two, or three years after a disconnection notice has been received.
- Request for a time extension must be filed before the due date on your notification document. A filing fee of $25 must accompany the official application form.
- Time extension renewals can be requested. Renewal applications also require payment of a $25 filing fee.
- Time extensions are subject to approval by the City. They will be approved only in those cases in which the facts presented demonstrate that timely disconnection would not be safe, prudent, or feasible and that a delay in disconnection is consistent with plans for the area's public infrastructure.
- Prior to January 1, 2007, there will be no further fee (other than filing fees) charged for time extensions. After January 1, 2007, property owners will be charged a fee that will be calculated using the current sewer utility rate multiplied by the square footage or area contributing rainwater to the sanitary sewer multiplied by the average rainfall in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
- Denial of a time extension, or disputed conditions of an approved time extension can be appealed through the Rainleader Disconnect Time Extension Appeals Panel. Filing for an appeal requires payment of a $100 filing fee.
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