Soak Up the Rain: Disconnect / Redirect Downspouts

Downspouts are often directed onto a paved surface, such as a driveway, which sends water directly into the street when it rains. Downspouts may also be connected to a pipe in the ground that connects directly to the sanitary sewer or storm drain system.

Downspout disconnection is the process of disconnecting the downspout from a pipe or the paved area. Water is then redirected to flow into a rain barrel or to a lawn or garden where it can soak into the ground. Redirecting downspouts to a landscaped area is a great way to help reduce runoff from a property.

Note: Downspout disconnection may not be appropriate for all locations. Consider local regulations and where the water will be directed to avoid property damage, unsafe conditions or other potential problems.

Information About Disconnect / Redirect Downspouts

Downspout Disconnection, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA

Local resources


Downspout Disconnection, Reduce, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Save the Sound Exit
Basic information on why and how to disconnect a downspout; links to videos and tutorials on how.

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Downspout Disconnection, City of South Portland, Maine Exit
Find general information on why to disconnect downspouts, site criteria, etc.

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Downspout disconnections, allowing rain to drain to lawns, gardens, South Hadley, Massachusetts Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PDF) (1 pg, 138 K, about PDF) Exit
Fact sheet on why and how to disconnect a downspout from the sewer system

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Stormwater Disconnection, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (PDF) (pp 17-18, 18 pp, 1.7 MB, about PDF) Exit
Fact sheet on the concept and advantages of disconnection.

Absorb the Storm - Create a Rain-friendly Yard and Neighborhood, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, University of Vermont Cooperative Extension (PDF) (24 pp, 2.5 MB, about PDF) Exit
Discusses a number of steps homeowners can take, including downspout disconnection, to help prevent the problems associated with runoff.

How to redirect a Downspout, Lake Champlain Program Exit
Step-by-step instructions, with pictures, on how to redirect a downspout

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