I just moved into 1912 townhouse in DC. It has cast iron drain lines for the gutter downspouts. One of the lines is clogged, but I assume it eventually connects to the sewer. At some point in the house's history an addition was put on and this line (which was previously on the back of the house) appears to have been bent such that it now protrudes out of the side of the house. The exterior brick wall of the addition was constructed around the pipe.


closeup top

closeup bottom

I'd like to remove the pipe because it looks awful and it feels like the area is lacking support due to missing bricks.

How do I even approach solving this? Do I call a plumber? A mason? A structural engineer?

  • Child-proof hose bib? – Tim Nevins Aug 15 '18 at 21:41
  • 1. If that line is clogged, it can be snaked out if it is still in a downspout location. It is the best way to get rid of rain water. 2. The pipe doesn't look like it was bent or manipulated. That looks like a nice treatment. Jim Stewart is right in his answer. If you aren't going to use it, cap it. If it will never, ever be used again, you could fill or cover the whole channel if you don't like the appearance. 3. The 2nd picture shows the top of the channel. It looks like wooden structural components are rotted. You might want to get that checked out. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Aug 15 '18 at 21:51
  • Make sure whatever caused it is fixed, and look at whether wood might need replacement. Also, gaps and openings like that are an entry point for critters and insects, so after everything is protected and fixed, look at what might need to be sealed. 4. Don't try to remove the pipe. It isn't necessary and will just introduce new potential problems. – fixer1234 Aug 15 '18 at 21:51

I suppose you'd call a plumber. You must determine if this is connected to the sanitary sewer. Also this opening should be capped with a proper cleanout fitting with a cap that would prevent sewage from pouring out, but would be removable for inspection or clearing a blockage. The plumber could run a camera down this and see where it goes.

AFIK rain water is not supposed to be directed into the sanitary sewer. Does DC allow this? It may be they accept it under grandfathering . . . or not.

  • 1
    DC has a notorious combined sewer system for 1/3 of the city (the old part) and this property is located inside that zone: dcwater.com/css – Will White Aug 15 '18 at 20:44
  • Oh! Well this is a chance to remove one property from sending rainwater into the sanitary sewer. Certainly if it were mine I would not want uncapped openings in the sanitary sewer near ground level. – Jim Stewart Aug 15 '18 at 20:55

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