Spring plumbing prep begins for outdoor restrooms, drinking fountains, more

Gloriously unseasonable temperatures are likely to bring out scores of visitors to enjoy Minneapolis parks this weekend and in the coming weeks.

Below ground, however, soils are just starting to warm up. Those are temperatures that determine when staff can begin to turn on outdoor drinking fountains, hand-pump wells and restrooms, which are shut down every fall to protect their underground pipes from freezing.

In spring, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) maintenance staff carefully monitor nighttime temperatures before they launch this seasonal start-up of plumbing systems, which generally open in the following order: amenities at eateries and rental facilities, rest rooms, drinking fountains, irrigation systems, decorative fountains and (in late May) wading pools.

While staff have begun this process, it can take several weeks to get more than 350 plumbing systems up and running. If a restroom or drinking fountain isn’t turned on, there are alternatives:

  • Restrooms and drinking fountains are available inside 49 MPRB recreation centers. For most centers, regular hours are Monday – Friday from 3 to 9 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm; but several centers have Sunday hours, so check individual listings for details:
  • Temporary portable restrooms are available at some parks.
  • MPRB reminds trail and park users to prepare accordingly and bring water with them as necessary.

Find out more about maintenance in the Minneapolis park system.