Downspout Disconnection is an easy and effective way to reduce your storm water footprint.
The old method of dealing with storm water was to get it as far away from your house, as quickly as possible - even if it meant piping your storm water over to your neighbor's property!
But a lot of times, this meant piping the storm water from your gutters right to the road or your driveway, directly leading to runoff that can pollute your local creek.
Studies performed by NC State have shown that simply disconnecting a downspout that leads to a road or driveway, and instead letting it flow over your lawn, can reduce runoff by over 50%!
A disconnected downspout will introduce a new source of water to your yard - make sure the pipes you want to disconnect flow water downhill away from your house.
If you want to disconnect a downspout that's uphill from your house, you'll have to buy a length of corrugated pipe that will carry the water past your house to the downhill side.
Once you have a good spot it's time to gather your materials
a downspout elbow,
at least a 2 foot downspout extender,
a splash pad or river rocks to prevent erosion, and
potentially a corrugated pipe cap.
These can all be purchased at your local hardware store.
Before purchasing these items, measure the width of your downspout to ensure you get the right size materials. Widths of 3 inches and 4 inches are the most common for residential downspouts.
If your corrugated pipe runs above ground, simply cut it about 3-6 feet downslope from your house.
You’ve just successfully disconnected your downspout!
Otherwise, let’s begin by unscrewing the downspout screws that attach your downspout to the corrugated pipe.
If your corrugated pipe is buried, it’s best to purchase a corrugated pipe cap and apply it to the now unattached end of the pipe. This will keep the pipe free from debris and wildlife. It will also prevent mosquitos from breeding there!
Now, attach your downspout elbow to the open downspout and attach your downspout extender to the end of the elbow.
Finally, install your splash pad under the end of the downspout extender. Alternatively, you can dig a shallow pit to channel water downslope from your house and place a healthy amount of river rocks in it.
This will slow the velocity of the water before it begins to flow over your lawn and prevent erosion.
It's that simple. Now you have a well-functioning storm water practice on your property!
But it can be still more effective.
The best Creek Smart® practice is one that works in synergy with another. Your disconnected downspout can flow into a rain garden or amended soil for maximum water storage.