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If you would like to do a plumbing project in the City of Grand Forks or it's two mile jurisdiction, below are some things you need to know.

  1. The City of Grand Forks Inspections Department is responsible for reviewing, inspecting, and approving all plumbing in the City's jurisdiction: every property in the city limits and our two mile extra territorial area. (See our GIS Map for those boundaries). If you are looking for a property outside of those boundaries please go to the Grand Forks County website.
  2. If you are a plumbing contractor and wish to do work in the City's jurisdiction please make sure you are licensed to do work in the City and obtaining the proper permits before starting work.See Licensing for more details.
  3. If this is your own home and wish to do work there you may do so. This must be the home you presently preside in and no part of it is a rental. Please call the Inspections Department and we can walk you through the process.
  4. Plumbing certificates are not needed for every project. For example, if you are simply replacing your bathroom sink with a new sink in the same location and utilizing the same plumbing, you do not need a permit.
  5. Every sump pump discharge must be piped to the outside of your home or building. This should be done in such a way to not cause problems for the neighboring properties or across city sidewalks. If you wish to run these lines underground and through the berm you must first obtain a permit.

Interior Sump Pump Requirements Diagram

Exterior Sump Pump Requirements Diagram


  • Ground Work: Before the work in the ground is covered by dirt, sand, etc. and the concrete is poured, a ground work inspection is required. All the piping shall be complete and it needs to be ready for covering when the inspection is requested. The inspector will either give you approval to cover it up or notify you of any corrections to be made. The inspector will need to be called to reinspect the corrections before the work is covered up.
  • Rough-In: After all of the drainage pipes and water lines are installed, a rough-in inspection is required. This is before any insulation or wall coverings are installed. The inspector will either give you approval to cover it up or notify you of any corrections to be made. The inspector will need to be called to reinspect the corrections before the work is covered up.
  • Final: After all the fixtures are set, the drain lines and the water lines are connected and the water heater is turned on (if applicable) a final inspection is required to be obtained. The inspector will either give you a final approval or notify you of any corrections to be made. The inspector will need to be called to reinspect the corrections once completed.

Plumbing Fixtures

  • Installation:
    • A minimum of 15 inches needs to be present from the center of a toilet or bidet to an adjacent wall or partition. This will also include a tub or shower and vanity. There also needs to be 15 inches from the center of the fixture to any surrounding toilet, tub or wall.
    • A minimum of 24 inches needs to be provided in the front of a toilet, bidet, or lavatory to any wall, partition, door or any other fixtures.
    • The location of any pipe, fixtures, or similar items will not interfere with the operation of any door or window.
    • Standpipes: A standpipe, such as ones used for a washing machine, needs to be a minimum of 18 inches and a maximum of 42 inches above the trap weir.
    • Showers: All showers are required to have a minimum of 1,024 square inches and needs to also be capable of encompassing a 30 inch circle.
    • Valves: The shower and tub control valves need to be equipped with control valves of the pressure-balance, thermostatic-mixing, or combination pressure-balance/thermostatic-mixing valve types with a high limit stop. the high limit stop is to be set to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bidets to have a maximum temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Water Heaters
    • Only a direct vent water heater or an electric water heater are allowed to be installed in a bedroom or bathroom.
    • When installed on a combustible surface where damage may result from a leaking water heater, a watertight, corrosion-resistant pan with a minimum 3/4 inch drain is to be installed underneath the water heater with the drainage flowing to an approved location; i.e., floor drain.
    • Relief valve: all water heaters are to be installed with a pressure-limiting device and a temperature-limiting device with the drain no smaller than the relief valve's outlet.

Water Supply

  • Materials: Pipe and fittings for the water supply in a dwelling unit may be brass, copper, cast iron, CPVC, galvanized malleable iron, galvanized wrought iron, galvanized steel or PEX.
    •  PEX tubing is not to be installed within 18 inches of the inlet and discharge of a water heaters.
    • Flexible corrugated connectors made of copper or stainless steel braided lines are allowed: however, they are limited in length. A maximum of 24 inches is allowed for water heaters, 30 inches for fixtures, 72 inches for washing machines and 120 inches for a dishwasher or ice maker.
  • Valves: A control valve needs to be installed immediately ahead of each water-supplied appliance. The valves are required to be accessible. A fullway valve is to be installed on the cold water supply line of each water heater. 
  • Support: Copper tubing or pipe 1 1/2 inches and smaller shall be supported horizontally at intervals not greater than 6 feet. PEX pipe intervals not to exceed 32 inches.
  • Supply lines: A minimum of a 1/2 inch I.D. supply line is to be installed for each hot or cold connection to each fixture. No more than two fixtures are allowed on one 1/2 inch line.

Sanitary Drainage

  • Materials: Drainage piping may be brass, copper, galvanized wrought iron, galvanized steel, cast iron, Schedule 40 ABS DWV, or Schedule 40 PVC DWV.

  • Support: All piping is to be properly supported. Underground piping is to be supported for its entire length. Above ground piping needs to be supported to ensure alignment, prevent sagging and allow movement for expansion and contraction of the pipe. ABS and PVC pipe is to be supported at a maximum distance of horizontally of 4 feet, 1 1/2 inch and smaller copper pipe or tubing at a maximum of 6 feet, 1/2 inch steel a maximum of 6 feet, and 3/4 and 1 inch steel a maximum of 8 feet.

  • Tail Pieces and Drains: A minimum of a 1 1/2 inch diameter trap and trap arm shall be provided for sinks, dishwashers, laundry tubs, bathtubs and similar fixtures. A minimum of a 1 1/4 inch diameter is to be provided for bidets, lavatories, and similar fixtures. Floor drains to have waste outlets no less than 2 inches in diameter.

  • Slip Joints: Are allowed to be used on the inlet, outlet and trap seal within each trap. If the slip joint is to be concealed, it must have an access panel with the minimum dimension of 12 inches for access to inspections and repairs.

  • Grade: Horizontal drainage pipes less than 4 inches are to have a uniform slope of no less than 1/4 inch per foot. Pipe that is 4 inches or larger will have a slope of at least 1/8 inch per foot.


  •  Each plumbing fixture is required to have a trap. The vertical distance between the trap and fixture outlet needs to be as short as possible but not to exceed 24 inches in length.
  • Each trap is to be protected against siphonage and back-pressure by a vent pipe. The distance from the trap to the vent pipe is determined by the size of the trap in accordance with the following table:

Trap Size

Max distance from pipe to trap
 1 1/4 inches
 2 feet 6 inches
 1 1/2 inches
 3 feet 6 inches
 2 inches
 5 feet
 3 inches
 6 feet
 4 inches & larger

 10 feet

 The distance is measured from the trap weir to the inner edge of the pipe.

  • The trap arm may change directions; however, if the change of direction is greater than 90 degrees, a cleanout is required.
  • "S" traps, bell traps, running traps, and crown-vented traps are not allowed to be used. No fixture is allowed to be double trapped.


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