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 Overflows
Rooftop drains (rainleaders) that are connected to the sanitary sewer system are one of the major contributors of CSO’s. Residential and commercial buildings built before 1961 sometimes have drain pipes that discharge 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 it to limit inflow of rainwater to the sanitary sewer system. The ordinance 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 is $1,500, and the third and all subsequent citations are $2,000.
Summary of the Ordinance
For more information: See the Minneapolis Rainleader Ordinance
If an inspection of your property identifies a prohibited discharge source, you will receive an official notification. Disconnection is required for all prohibited sources defined in this ordinance, including any that had been allowed in the past.
Disconnection must be completed by the date specified. Before beginning work, you must obtain a permit, which is free and valid for one year.
All work performed under your permit must be done in accordance with State and City rules and regulations. The work must be permanent, and no temporary caps or plugs (such as internal gripper plugs) can be placed on disconnected drains. The work must inspected after completion 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 1, 2 or 3 years after receiving a disconnection notice
- A request for a time extension must be filed before the due date on your notification document, and includes a filing fee of $25
- Time extension renewals can be requested, and also require payment of a $25 filing fee
- Time extensions are subject to City approval. They will be only be approved when a 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 was no further fee (other than filing fees) charged for time extensions. After January 1, 2007, property owners were charged a fee that was calculated using current sewer utility rate multiplied by the square footage 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, which includes 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 time extensions, you will be found in violation of the ordinance. Since 2007, administrative citations with a possible fine have been 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 23, 2017