Most of the downspouts on my house (built in 1951) are routed into the foundation, like this:

enter image description here

My questions about this situation:

  1. Why on earth did someone do this? (I just bought the damn thing and now I have to deal with it.)
  2. How big a deal is it to fix? Unless otherwise advised, I would cut away the lower foot or so of downspout with a hacksaw and mate it with new stuff from Home Depot that drains to the outside of the house. Will that do, or should I replace the whole thing?
  3. I assume I need to stop up the pipe at the bottom of the photo. Do I need to use cement or something, or can I just cap it somehow?
  • 1
    Where does this pipe go? Do you have a basement? It's possible that your downspouts are tied into your sewer drain. That's not typically legal anymore.
    – DaveM
    Aug 1, 2019 at 21:24
  • @DaveM Now that you mention it, I believe that's where they go. I do have a basement. I'm assuming this setup is original to the house and sheltered by a grandfather clause.
    – crmdgn
    Aug 1, 2019 at 21:46
  • What is broken?
    – user23752
    Aug 2, 2019 at 0:07
  • 1
    Are you on a hill? Maybe the other end of the pipe daylights somewhere.
    – Dotes
    Aug 2, 2019 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


If you want to repair the leaking pipe where it enters the foundation, I'd use hydraulic cement to seal it. As for the downspout into the cast iron pipe, there are transition pieces that should tie them together more cleanly and tightly - or you could fashion something from ABS or PVC sewer pipe/fittings and downspout fittings. Otherwise, my thought on this one is: "If it ain't broke (or not causing any major problems), don't fix it"!

As DaveM stated, it appears that water from your downspouts is flowing into the sewer system. Although generally not allowed today, it was apparently legal when the house was built, so I'd leave it alone - unless you have flooding problems in your basement or crawlspace. Making any changes to this system would typically require you to follow current codes which could end up being very costly - or at the very least, time-consuming.


Maybe your gutters connect to the storm drain.


Drains receive water from street gutters on most motorways, freeways and other busy roads, as well as towns in areas with heavy rainfall that leads to flooding, and coastal towns with regular storms. Even gutters from houses and buildings can connect to the storm drain. Many storm drainage systems are gravity sewers that drain untreated storm water into rivers or streams—so it is unacceptable to pour hazardous substances into the drains.

My house is recent and some gutters are attached to pipes integral to the house, though disappearing into the ground next to the house not the wall. They discharge into the storm drain (aka storm sewer), the same understreet waterway that receives water from the street surface through the gutter. Where I live the sanitary sewer is a different set of pipes that receives toilet water and which does not mix with the storm drain and runoff. The storm drain discharges into the river eventually, untreated. The sanitary sewer water is of course treated.

I think it is fine to connect directly to the storm drain if there is not something else that you want to collect and use this water to do.

  • 2
    "I think it is fine to connect directly to the storm drain". If it's truly a "storm" drain, but the suspicion here is that it is connected to the sanitary sewer. There were times and places where that used to be allowed, but exceptionally heavy rain can cause backups and worse, so it's generally not allowed anymore. Aug 2, 2019 at 1:26

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