What's the best way to remove the unused sewer / storm-drain pipe in the attached picture? It's coming up through the edge of our basement slab where it meets the foundation wall?

We want to remove it b/c we're finishing the basement and would like to frame as close to the foundation wall as possible (i.e. the pipe's gotta go & we won't need to use it again).

NOTE: we're having an internal french drain system put in in a few weeks, so they'll be digging up the edge of the basement slab (about 1' width all around the basement to put in the french drain & waterproof the foundation walls). Should we remove ourselves first somehow or wait and coordinate with waterproofers?

unused Sewer / storm-sewer stack in basement

  • I'd be inclined to cut and cap the ABS pipe and leave it all in the wall. You don't want to run the risk of having sewer gas escaping into your newly-finished basement.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 21:09

6 Answers 6


You are thinking about this way too much. If you aren't using it anymore and the concrete is coming up the people doing the french drains won't think twice about taking care of it for you (for free) if they are reputable. It is literally one whack with a sledge hammer that they will have available. There is no use sawing through it or whatever if it is going bye bye. They will simply remove it as they would the concrete around it. Cast iron doesn't do well with a hammer. The PVC on the other side can be cut with any kind of saw.

  • 2
    Apologies for the belated reply and thanks for the advice. The contractors doing the french drain took it out without a second thought.
    – 1905home
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 16:11

You can flush cut pipe with a reciprocating saw and a long blade:

flush cutting pipe with reciprocating saw

It might be hard to get all the way to the wall with this method. They make a special blade just for flush cuts:

Milwaukee Flush Cut blade

and although it will go through nails in wood, I don't know if it will cut that pipe. There are other gadgets and adapters out there for flush cuts with recip saws though.

There are also hacksaws made for flush cutting

Lenox hacksaw flush cut

that you could use to finish the cut, or do the whole thing if you're patient and have the juice to do it old school.

There are other options, using a grinder, etc.

As far as plugging the pipe, that's another issue - make sure you plan this ahead, make sure you have enough material under there to do it.

As far as the french drain people - it always makes sense to me, to ask before - it will be hard work cutting this pipe, but a lot harder to un-cut it if they have some issue.


do the sawzall routine with a long metal blade. push it down onto the cement to cut it off flush (exactly as shown in top pic). cast iron pipe should be no sweat (bad pun for plumbers!)


I'd definitely talk to the waterproofers. They'll be cutting concrete; surely they'll have experience dealing with cast iron pipes (and they'll have to deal with the leftover portion of the pipe in the slab).


This type of pipe is called soil pipe or some say cast iron & PVC pipe connected to it.The PVC removal should be no problem as well as the cast iron pipe. Simply take a hammer and break the pipe flush with the concrete. A chisel could come in handy to finish demo, then put something down in pipe to keep mix from falling to bottom of pipe and pour expanding concrete or rock hard putty in the pipe. this pipe looks like once it enters the concrete, it probably is crossing the top of footer. If this is the case then when workers expose the pip further demo can take place, but do not leave pipe unplugged. This can result into a problem if it enter a septic tank.


For anyone looking to re-use their pipe, go rent a cast iron (soil) pipe cutter. It will not get it all the way down to the floor though: ~1" will be left proud. However, you'll need more room around the pipe than what this appears to have, to get the chain around it. They also work amazingly well on clay pipe.

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