There is a white PVC pipe sticking out of the ground in my yard. It must have been put there when the house was built, before I was the owner.

What is this pipe for? It is about 4 or 5 inches in diameter and has a cap glued into the top to seal it. Or at least I think it is glued as I cannot seem to pull the cap off.

I think it might be related to the outdoor drainage system as the downspouts seem to pour into similar white PVC pipe. But if this is supposed to be some sort of access pipe, I can't figure out why it is sealed.

The reason why I am asking is because I want to dig out around the pipe, cut it off below ground level, re-seal it, and bury it under a layer of flagstones. It is right in the way and I keep tripping over it.

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  • Do your gutters backup or over flow with a good rain??
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 16:28
  • No, thankfully they do not
    – user95248
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 22:44
  • I'm thinking it's part of your downspout system. They usually have some sort of emitter at the pipe end but maybe the previous owner broke it off and just capped the pipe.
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


They can be quite hard to remove even if not glued. I'd assume it is a cleanout.

Remove the top (I usually use a hammer and a piece of wood to bang under the lip--you'll have to dig a bit). If the top does not come off, just cut it off with a reciprocating saw. You can always put another cap on or get a coupling if you need more length. Once the cap is off you can yell into it and have someone listen to your rain drain risers to see if it is connected.

If it smells or you can't hear the other person it could be a sewer cleanout.

You could keep it right at the level below the flagstone and have a removable flagstone if you want to keep the cleanout some what accessible.

  • OP doesn't indicate in which part of the yard the cap is found, but if it's generally between the front of the house and the street, I think that increases the probability of it being a sewer cleanout. Likewise if it's in the rear yard and there's no alley it's less likely to be for sanitary sewer. The sewer operator may have records as to the location of the lateral for the home that could confirm whether it's a sewer cleanout.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 17:17
  • It's near the back of the house so no, unlikely to be sewer-related. I'll check to see if its connected to the drain pipes as suggested.
    – user95248
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 22:47
  • 4
    OK so I dug out from around it and uncapped it using the hammer/wood method. There was no sewer smell and I could see it turned horizontal about 2 feet below ground level. I used the yell method and determined that the pipe was connected to the downspout drains. So this thing must be some sort of cleanout port or just a terminator. So I took my Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel and chopped a section of the pipe out and re-capped it. The cap will be below the surface once I put down my paving slabs but if I need to get at it for some reason I can just lift one of the slabs and dig it back out.
    – user95248
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 3:07

I have the same thing. I asked the city and apparently there was a flood here before I bought the house and the city installs it so that they can put a camera down to see if there are roots or something down there in case of a flood. The problem is now that it's there any costs that are incurred due to a flood are on the homeowner not the city

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