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Bought a house last week, which -- Canadian winter -- had been mightily surrounded by snow, including in the driveway. Today, with the snow melting, I saw this in front of the garage door. It extends about 2" up past the driveway surface.

Cap relative to garage door

The cap on the pipe is black and has some sort of little handle on it.

Pipe cap

It comes off very easily, and underneath there's about 8' to 10' of pipe (I think? I'm lousy at eyeballing things), rimed with frost, leading to what looks like standing water.

Frosty Pipe

The fact that there's a big ol' PVC (or something) pipe jutting several inches out of the driveway in front of the garage is kind of annoying, but not having any idea what's going on here (sewer vent? In my driveway?) is more annoying. What's this pipe doing here? What's it for? Can I chop it down, fill it in, seal it shut?

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Another option in addition to the other answers is a cleanout/inspection line for the weeping system. If you're far enough north that there's still ice in mid-March, weeping systems are a must-have to prevent foundation damage from frost heaves. Quick test; if it smells like sewer gas, it's a sanitary sewer cleanout. If it smells like earth, mildew or just stagnant water, it's probably the weeping system which feeds to the storm sewer.

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It's a cleanout for the sewer line. You can shorten it to grade level, but you cannot remove or pave over it.

You'll probably never need it, but if you do, you'll want quick access to it.

  • That would make sense if it's an attached garage. I'm gonna have to go with RV poo pipe otherwise. – Mazura Mar 18 '15 at 1:44
  • The garage is unattached; the house is 100+ years old and the garage is pretty old too. There's a lot of weirdness around the property, but it's really not the sort of place that would have RV voiding capabilities. – JeanSibelius Mar 18 '15 at 12:58
  • @mattshepherd Is it possible that the garage was built after the house? Where is this pipe in relation to the house? – Tester101 Mar 18 '15 at 13:36
  • All things are possible; the garage is probably more recent than the 100+ year old house (it has a garage door, and IIRC cars were not standard issue in the 1920s). The pipe is 10' from the back door. It's not "close" to the house, and there are no obvious pipe out points in the basement going in that general direction. – JeanSibelius Mar 19 '15 at 15:55
  • Do you have sewer or septic? If sewer, do you have any idea where the sewer line is? – Tester101 Mar 19 '15 at 16:19
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I wouldn't go any further than shortening it slightly without first actually figuring out what it is - where local inspection is going to have significant advantages over the ponderings of the internet. Filling it in and sealing it shut (more than the removable cap) would be foolish without positive identification. It has probably heaved itself up from a formerly level with the surface installation.

Try asking the seller, first.

The color is commonly sewer pipe, but that's no guarantee.

If you can shine a light down and see the water, you could flush some dye and see if you see color.

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If it's a sewer cleanout you should be able to detect noxious gasses emanating from the pipe once the cap is removed. To double check; have a helper flush a toilet while you listen for running water with the cap removed. My first thought when I viewed the photo was that it was a field drain with the grate removed and someone used a test cap to cover the opening.

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