Rainleader ordinance factsheet

Rooftop drains or rainleaders connected to sanitary sewers are a major contributor to combined sewer overflows. Learn more on the factsheet.


The City of Minneapolis has been separating its sanitary sewer system from its stormwater drainage system to reduce the number of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Rooftop drains or rainleaders connected to sanitary sewers are a major contributor to combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

Older buildings can have rainleaders that discharge directly into a sanitary sewer, rather than through gutters to lawns or to a storm pipe. These must be permanently disconnected from the sanitary sewer.

The goal of Chapter 511.190 is to discontinue clearwater and stormwater drainage from entering the sanitary sewer system. This ordinance authorizes the City to:

  • Inspect buildings to find places where stormwater empties into a sanitary pipe, and to require disconnection from the sanitary system
  • Issue citations to repeat violators. The first citation is $750, the second is $1,500, and additional citations are $2,000.

Ordinance summary

For more information, see Chapter 511.90 - Prohibited Discharges to Sanitary Sewer

A Rainleader Disconnection representative will notify you if your property has a prohibited discharge source. Disconnection is required for all prohibited sources, regardless if it had been allowed in the past. Here are some things to keep in mind:

About your disconnection permit

  • You must obtain a Rainleader Disconnection Permit (free of charge) before you, or a contractor you hire, start work on disconnecting your rainleader, and the work must be completed in the time allowed
  • It must be done in accordance with State and City rules and regulations
  • The disconnection must be permanent; no temporary caps or plugs can be used
  • The work must inspected after it is completed, but before being covered up and concealed
  • Redirecting stormwater runoff after disconnection must not cause damage to adjacent properties


  • You may request 1-year Time Extension Permit ($25 fee) which must be filed before the expiration date on the Rainleader Permit or Time Extension Permit, if renewing an existing Time Extension Permit.
  • If the work is not completed by the expiration due date on the Rainleader Disconnection Permit, you will be in violation of city ordinance. You may be subject to administrative enforcement inclusive of fines, assessment of costs to the property, and revocation of existing building permits or permits to transact business within the City of Minneapolis.

Contact us

Surface Water & Sewers

Public Works




Public Service Center
250 South 4th St, Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Office hours

Monday – Friday
7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.