Minneapolis Department of Public Works

Public Works

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

Rain Barrels

Recycling Water or How to Reduce Runoff

Did you know that a moderate storm that dumps 1" of rain produces about 600 gallons of runoff from a roof surface of 1,000 square feet? Imagine the number of rooftops in your community and you can quickly see how much runoff is headed toward the storm drains, picking up pollutants common in urban areas along the way, and headed toward our lakes, streams and rivers. Rain barrels are one way of trapping some of this runoff. They are not only ecologically responsible, but they also help conserve water.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Rain Barrels

Can I install a rain barrel in Minneapolis without a permit?

Yes! You do not require a permit from the City of Minneapolis to install a rain barrel on your property. However caution is required to properly construct and install the rain barrel.

Can you drink water stored in a rain barrel?

No! Rainwater collected from roofs is not safe to drink. Chemicals from the roof may leach into the water. This rainwater may contain dangerous bacteria and material unsafe for ingestion.

Is water from a rain barrel safe for my garden and lawn?

Absolutely! Rainwater collected in your rain barrel is ideal for flowers, native gardens and lawns. However, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends that it not be used for vegetable gardens or food crops.

Is there a danger in installing a rain barrel?

There’s a risk of children climbing into or tipping over an open rain barrel. It is recommended that you provide a tight fitting lid or screen on the barrel. This will also reduce the chance of collecting organic matter, preventing it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.

Will I save water and money by installing a rain barrel?

Rain barrels are ecologically friendly. However, you may not see a significant drop in your water bill. Rain barrels help reduce stormwater runoff and provide some water for your garden. Rain barrels work best for small landscape gardens or directing water to a rain garden on your property.

Are rain barrels available commercially?

Yes, there are many commercial outfits that sell rain barrels. A web search can provide you with a list of several sites.

Last updated Mar. 13, 2013