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Disconnecting gutters from sewer can reduce flooding chances

Disconnecting gutter downspouts from the municipal sewer system can help reduce the chances of backups during heavy rain.

While storm water from roof gutters is not a problem under normal conditions, the main system can become overwhelmed during heavy rain events, sometimes causing sewage and storm water to back up into basements.

A one-inch rainfall on a 1,000-square-foot roof can produce 600 gallons of water.

Disconnecting gutter downspouts from the municipal sewer system also can offer a way to capture free water for plants, lawns and gardens.

Capturing storm runoff in rain barrels or rain gardens and using native plants in landscaping to help absorb runoff are effective methods.

For more information on flooding prevention, visit or email

Gutter Disconnection Tips

  • Extend downspouts at least three to six feet away from the building foundation wall and direct flow away from the building.
  • Pick a suitable area for water to flow to such as a grassy area or rain garden. Route downspout extensions under decks or patios to reach these permeable areas.
  • Avoid placing an extension across a sidewalk so as not to create a tripping hazard.
  • Use a splash block at the end of the extension to avoid soil erosion.
  • Avoid flowing water onto sidewalks or driveways since these may freeze during cold months.
  • Remember to cap the sewer where the downspout once connected to prevent debris and animals from entering and odors from escaping.