Green initiatives

You can help to improve the water quality of our lakes, creeks and the Mississippi River.

These green initiatives show how everyone can make a difference to improve the water quality of our lakes, creeks and the Mississippi River. Every time it rains, you water your lawn or wash your car, stormwater carries pollutants into the City’s storm drain system.

Green roofs

Building green roofs creates healthier and more efficient buildings, providing great environmental, economic and social benefits. 

building with environmental friendly roof
building with environmental friendly roof



Planting trees helps retain rainwater on a tree's leaves & trunk, resulting in reduced stormwater runoff. Trees also soak up water in the soils through their roots, allowing soil more time & holding capacity for filtration. 

Trees in a city park
Tree lined street

Trees retain water and slow stormwater runoff, reducing the intensity of downstream flooding.

Rain gardens

Rain gardens reduce the amount of stormwater and pollutants entering the Mississippi River, and the lakes and creeks of Minneapolis. Direct the rain from your roof or driveway to a rain garden and keep that rain on your property, instead of going into the storm drain system. 

Rain garden by a building
Rain garden in front of a house.

Rain gardens containing native plants can survive varying wet and dry conditions, and have a deep root system that helps improve soil conditions.

Native plants in rain gardens have deep root systems which can survive both wet and dry conditions, and they help improve soil conditions.

Rain barrels

A 1" rain storm produces 600 gallons of stormwater runoff from a roof surface of 1,000 sq.ft. That runoff contains pollutants which empty into storm drains, before discharging into the waters of Minneapolis.

rain barrel by a house.
Rain barrel with hose for watering at a house

Rain barrels help by trapping some of this stormwater runoff, and also help conserve water.

Pervious pavements

Urban areas contains an abundance of hard, or impervious, surfaces. Pervious pavement allows stormwater runoff to infiltrate into the ground, keeping this water out of the Mississippi River, and the lakes and creeks of Minneapolis.

asphalt pavement is not environmentally friendly
Pavers with gaps for environment


Combined sewer overflows

Combined sewer overflows (CSO) is when heavy rain or melting snow cause sewers to overflow into stormwater drainpipes.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Contact us

Public Works


City Hall
350 S. 5th St., Room 203
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Office hours

Open to the Public by Appointment