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Downspout Disconnection Program

Date: December 11, 2023

The Downspout Disconnection Program is the new program introduced by the city of Milwaukee, informing homeowners on how downspouts should be routed. Here are some information that may help you better understand this new program.


What Does the Downspout Disconnection Program involve?

The Downspout Disconnection Program entails cutting the downspout, affixing an elbow and extension to redirect the stormwater flow away from the house to a grassy area, and sealing the standpipe where the downspout was previously connected.

This is illustrated in the picture below. 

Downspout Disconnection Program

The 'Before' image depicts the previous downspout route connected to a standpipe, while the 'After' image showcases the updated alignment in accordance with the Downspout Disconnection Program.

What Is the Aim of the Downspout Disconnection Program?

The Downspout Disconnection Program aims to help lessen the amount of clear water going into the sewer system when it rains, as extra clear water from Milwaukee residents’ downspouts during heavy rains can be too much for the pipes and the MMSD (Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District) treatment plant. This can cause streets to flood, basements to get sewage, and sewage overflow into nearby water.

Downspouts in Milwaukee residential properties with four units or less within the combined sewer service area are required to be disconnected from the standpipe, provided that these disconnections adhere to the criteria outlined in the City's plumbing code and MMSD's Rules and Regulations.

How Does the Downspout Disconnection Program Affect Milwaukee Homeowners?

The Downspout Disconnection Program impacts Milwaukee residents or homeowners, as this program requires them to make the necessary adjustments to the placement of their downspouts to ensure they have the correct positioning and slope away from the house, thus promoting effective drainage.

downspout and extension elbow

Who Will Be Affected by the Downspout Disconnection Program?

If your Milwaukee property is located within the combined sewer area, which extends from Capitol Drive to Oklahoma Avenue and from Lake Michigan to North 60th Street, you will be impacted by the downspout disconnection program. This is applicable only if your downspouts are connected to a combined sewer and if you have an open green space around your property that can effectively divert water.


The Downspout Disconnection Program serves as a critical measure to enhance the resilience of Milwaukee neighborhoods against the detrimental impacts of water-related issues. By educating and guiding homeowners on downspout placement and drainage, the program becomes an integral part of the city's strategy to foster a safer, more secure living environment for its residents while mitigating the broader risks associated with flooding and sewage overflow.

To ensure compliance with the program, it is essential for Milwaukee homeowners to consult with experts. Seeking professional guidance helps homeowners navigate the program's requirements, ensuring that their downspout adjustments align with the city's initiative.

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