Water & Sewer

Downspout Disconnection

Downspout disconnection is a process used to reduce the amount of stormwater that enters storm or combined sewers. Less stormwater in the system prevents wastewater from backing up through sewer pipes where it can escape through floor drains or other low-lying plumbing fixtures in your basement.

Disconnecting your downspout

To disconnect a downspout, they are cut above the drainpipe and the drainpipe is capped. An elbow and extension are added to the connection to divert rainwater from flowing into your home’s private sewer drain. A splash pad can be added at the end of the downspout to help direct the flow and protect landscaping.

Benefits of downspout disconnection

Some of the benefits of downspout disconnection include:

  • It reduces the amount of stormwater sent through the sewer system, which can lead to overflow into rivers, streams and lakes as well as cause sewer backups and basement flooding in your home.
  • It replenishes and protects the groundwater table and reduces and delays stormwater runoff, preventing flash flooding in rivers and streams.
  • You can save rainwater in a rain barrel for irrigating your plants and gardens instead of using tap water.
  • It places fewer burdens on the sewer system, leading to lower energy costs and increased effectiveness of wastewater treatment facilities.

Best practices for disconnecting your downspout

When disconnecting your downspout, water should flow onto your grass or garden. It is very important to ensure that:

  • Water flows away from your foundation walls
  • Water does not negatively impact your neighbours’ properties
  • Water does not flow directly onto a walkway or driveway
  • Your eavestroughs are clean and drain properly
  • The ground slopes away from the house for a minimum of one metre
  • Catch basins are free of debris

How to get your downspouts disconnected

The City of Hamilton offers property owners of single-family residential homes a grant (subsidy) of up to $2000 for the disconnection of downspouts, installation of a backwater valve and other eligible works that help to reduce the risk of basement flooding. If downspout disconnections are completed by one of the pre-qualified contractors, either in conjunction with the installation of a backwater valve or not, the property owner will be eligible for a reimbursement of $75 per downspout. The grant maximum is $2000 for any of the combined eligible works under the Program. Learn more about this program