# What is this pipe?

1. Nov 4, 2015

### Greg Bernhardt

I found this drain pipe covered with leaves and earth. It might be from old gutter drainage. Any ideas on capping it?

2. Nov 4, 2015

### zoobyshoe

I would poke a stick down there and see how deep it goes. If it's not too deep, the easiest way to deal would be just to fill it with dirt.

3. Nov 4, 2015

### dipole

That wouldn't tell you how far it goes if there are bends and kinks in the pipe though. An easy (but possibly time consuming) way to check if it goes anywhere would be to stick a lit candle in there (or an array of lit candles) and seal off your end. You can estimate how many moles of oxygen per hour a candle will burn, and if the candle(s) goes out while inside the pipe then you know you've consumed all the oxygen inside, and you can calculate the volume of air contained within to estimate the length of the pipe.

This is obviously a somewhat contrived solution, but I think it'd be fun to do.

4. Nov 4, 2015

### zoobyshoe

If it bends, you can still fill it with dirt. The dirt isn't going to go around the bend. If you're afraid it will, just drop a bunch of small sticks and leaves in first to create a mini-log jam. Beavers have good luck damming rivers that way. Alternately, you could force an old hoodie or something down there to stop the dirt at the bend.

5. Nov 4, 2015

### zoobyshoe

Also, I wouldn't try flame in the event it happens to communicate with a sewer.

6. Nov 4, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

No, I would not fill it in with dirt. There is no telling how many other drains in the area connect to it near the bottom of that leg: you may be dumping dirt into a big storm drain!

Cap; yes. I'd probably join it with a short length of pvc and a screw-in cap. I'll get you a link when I get home.
[Very late edit: autocorrect doesn't like pvc]

Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
7. Nov 4, 2015

### Greg Bernhardt

Yeah I should mention I'm in a city

8. Nov 4, 2015

### zoobyshoe

If it still communicates with a storm drain, then it might be draining that area of yard when it rains. Capping or plugging could cause floods. Might be better to reconnect it to the roof gutter.

I think you could test it by running the garden hose down it for a few minutes. If it seems to be filling up, it's already plugged. If not, then it may well be draining the yard there when it rains.

9. Nov 4, 2015

### Greg Bernhardt

It was disconnected when the gutter down spout was moved. Maybe put a mesh over it?

10. Nov 4, 2015

### wirenut

In NY we were required to remove all storm water sources (down spouts, sump pumps, etc) from the sanitary system. Around here we originally had only 1 system. We now have a storm system and sanitary system. Most gutters were run into the sanitary system, until they realized all sanitary system water had to be treated before discharge.

The town building dept came around and tested all downspouts that went underground, and if they were run into the sanitary drain you had to remove the downspout and cap the pipe, by a wooden plug inserted 6+ inches down and cap with concrete.

Another possibility is that is your vent for the sewer lateral from your house, in which case you should have a "mushroom" cap to prevent large debris from entering the pipe but allow air to enter and gas to escape.

11. Nov 4, 2015

### zoobyshoe

Wirenut raises the possibility it might have lead to the sewer in an old combined system. That being a possibility, I don't know what to tell you. I would point out, though, that it doesn't seem to have caused any problems as is.

12. Nov 4, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

13. Nov 4, 2015

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
One should try to find a survey of the property. Is there an inspection report?

Do you have a high beam flashlight to shine down inside the pipe?

Is it about 4 or 6 inches in diameter?

14. Nov 5, 2015

### Greg Bernhardt

Got another mystery pipe off my driveway

15. Nov 5, 2015

### jackwhirl

Recommend you submit this to the photo contest.

16. Nov 5, 2015

### edward

In the first picture it looks like there is a small diameter pipe coming in from the side. It could be a condensate drain line so make sure not to plug it or bend it until you are sure. It could also be a drain line from a hot water heating system.

The second picture looks like a drain so that storm water doesn't build up behind the wall. I am presuming that ground level is higher on the other side of the wall.

17. Nov 5, 2015

### wirenut

Are you referring (in the first pic) to the small black thing coming from bottom right? If so I enlarged the pic and that looks like a plastic tie wrap (yard debris).

As to the second pipe, if this is a wall between a raised driveway and a lower area @edward may be correct, although multiple smaller one spread out are the norm now.

Can you get a wider shot to see the context the pipe is in? What is the pipe? iron? wall thickness? galvanized or black iron or cast iron? I.D. ?

18. Nov 6, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

Agreed: it looks like a retaining wall drain.

19. Nov 6, 2015

### dlgoff

I'd like it to be wide enough to see all of Greg's new place.