This 4 1/2 inch vertical metal pipe is sticking up a foot out of my garden. The previous owner of the property didn't know what it was for. It has 2 hose clamps on it and a cap with a square nipple.

The city utilities don't have a record of its existence.

I want to take it out, but I also want to get as much info as I can about it before I accidentally bust a necessary fixture. Also, there is another building with all utilities on the back of my property. House on property was built in 1983, if that helps. All the relevant utility companies have said it is not theirs.

Anybody ever work with something like it?

UPDATE -- Definitely Drain Cleanout. I loosened the hose clamps and the top came right off and I could see "liquid" about 3-1/2 feet down.

Vertical Metal Pipe

  • What's under the lid? That will almost certainly help to answer your question.
    – jwh20
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:46
  • Do you (or did you) have an underground heating oil tank?
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:47
  • I haven't messed with the lid/cap yet (if it is pressurized water, I want to be ready). If it was an oil tank, the previous owner of the property was unaware of it.
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:56
  • 2
    Looks like a sewer clean out pipe to me. If that's what it is, it's the homeowner's responsibility, not your town/city/county's. Which is why your utility companies are taking a pass.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:58
  • Does (or did) this house ever have a septic system, or has it always been on a public sewer system?
    – Nate S.
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


It really looks like a drain cleanout. Since it's on your property the city utilities probably won't have a record of it. It could have been added after the house was built and never needed by the previous owner. Remove that cap and see what's down there. Turn on some water or flush a few toilets and see if you see water flowing.

  • 1
    And don't worry, the drain isn't pressurized, nothing will splash out at you. (Addressing the OPs concern in a comment on the OP.)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:04
  • why would a cleanout have hose clamps attached?
    – dandavis
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:27
  • Probably won't be able to see water flowing, but it could be audible. More tests for the sewer cleanout hypothesis: find out where the sewer main is located; does this stand between the main and the house? Remove the cap and listen for sounds inside the pipe. If a car runs over a nearby sewer manhole cover in the street, or an assistant strikes a manhole cover with a hammer or rock, do you hear those sounds transmitted through this pipe?
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:32
  • 2
    @dandavis I think outdoor cleanout caps are almost universally attached to the pipe in this way. The cap itself is likely brass; it probably threads into a cast iron piece; these are commonly connected to the PVC or iron sewer pipe by a rubber coupler with clamps as shown in the photo.
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:36
  • @dandavis That's a drain coupling. Maybe they extended it to a new grade level.
    – JACK
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 18:36

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