Disconnecting your downspout is one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce stormwater runoff. When your gutter downspouts are connected to a pipe, all rain water from your house or building is delivered into the sewer system within minutes. Downspouts that drain on driveways also often drain directly to the stormwater system. The runoff from your house contains pollutants and contaminates that can harm water quality. Disconnecting your downspout will reroute the runoff into rain barrels, cisterns, or permeable areas like your yard or rain garden instead of the sewer. By disconnecting the downspout you are not only helping pollutants to be filtered from the water, but you can also help prevent basement backups and sewer overflows.
In fact, you can disconnect your downspout for as little as $20 in about 30 minutes. Disconnecting requires cutting the downspout, attaching an elbow, extensions and splashblocks to redirect the water away from the house and reduce erosion. The only maintenance your downspout disconnection will require is proper upkeep of your gutters to ensure they are free of leaks, clogs and ensure that all parts are securely fastened.
(Illustration courtesy of Mid-America Regional Council.)