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The origin I live in, a place where there is a cap like this, we call it a gutter, which I don't think is right because:

“…a long curved channel made of metal or plastic that is fixed under the edge of a roof to carry away the water when it rains…”

I think this thing is called a sewer.

What is it called in the UK and the US?

  • 10
    Your picture shows a storm drain, the rain water coming from the street gutter will possibly flow through the storm drain and into the sewer pipe.
    – None
    Nov 16, 2023 at 8:33
  • Looks to me like it shows a blocked [storm] drain. Nov 16, 2023 at 12:01
  • 4
    Others have answered what the actual name was but they failed to address your original problem: gutter is not explicitly a structure on the roof. A "gutter" is something that carries water away from a place where it isn't wanted. It serves a similar purpose on the edge of the roof, to collect and channel the water away, as it does at the side of the road -- this is why both are called gutters.
    – Gábor
    Nov 16, 2023 at 18:29
  • 1
    I work in tight conjunction with local government and public works specifically. While it is touched on some of the answers, the actual visible portion is called the grate that covers a sump called a catch basin that then runs into a series of pipes called the storm sewer. However, it would not be unusual, perhaps typical, to point to the grate and call it the storm sewer. Unless you are specifically discussing the grate. In the US, gutter is an unspecified space between the road bed and the curb/kerb.
    – RomaH
    Nov 16, 2023 at 19:28
  • 1
    @WS2 - Yes, storm sewer is technically correct in UK and US, as RomaH says, but in everyday speech we associate the term sewer mainly with foul sewers. Nov 17, 2023 at 11:18

3 Answers 3


The metal grid in your photo is neither a sewer nor a gutter. It is the entrance to the drain that leads to the sewer.

The gutter is the long trough-like section of road designed to allow water to run towards it so that the storm water goes down the drain.

The drain is the vertical pipe that takes the water down from the gutter level to the sewer.

The sewer is the system of pipes below the ground that then carries waste water away.

The metal covering might be called a grid, a drain cover, a gully grid, or perhaps it might be called a 'drain', given that is where the holes in it lead.

  • 7
    In some dialects the metal covering may also be called a ‘grate’ or more specifically ‘sewer grate’ (possibly with ‘grating’ in place of ‘grate’, at least here in Southwest Ohio the two seem to be interchangeable). Nov 17, 2023 at 12:04
  • In U.S.A., we also say, "catch basin." That's the chamber, underneath the grate that collects solid debris while allowing water to flow into the storm sewers. Maybe once or twice a year in my neighborhood, a truck carrying an enormous vacuum cleaner comes around, and the operators lift the grate, and vacuum all of the accumulated debris out of the catch basin. Nov 18, 2023 at 1:09
  • drains are often boxes, in fact.
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:03

In the UK, that thing made of metal, with bars, that can be lifted if needed, is often called a roadside drain cover. Many people would just simply call it a 'drain', and say things like 'I dropped my car keys down the drain'.

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Or it can be called, more technically, a storm drain grate:

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Storm Drain Grate Blog

Not only roofs have gutters; streets have them too. In a roadside context, a street gutter is a low area at the side of a road used to catch water and carry it away from the road into a storm drain. A storm drain is a kind of sewer pipe. In the gutter there will probably be storm drain covers. These can be lifted if needed (e.g. because of a blockage or to recover objects that have fallen down the drain).

enter image description here

  • whilst this is definitely the fuller term, in my experience they're more typically just called "drains"
    – Tristan
    Nov 17, 2023 at 9:21
  • 3
    @Tristan The drain is the hole that the grate covers over. If you drop something, it goes through the grate and down the drain. We don't usually care much about the grate, except in terms of removing it to reach the things below it.
    – Barmar
    Nov 17, 2023 at 14:54
  • It's drain in AmE too.
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:04

In Canada we'd call that a catchbasin in the gutter that drains into a storm sewer. The gutter is that edge of the pavement (road) next to the curb (which borders the sidewalk). The sewer is the pipe that transports the runoff (water, mostly, usually) and the catchbasin is the metal grille and the compartment beneath it.

Then again, we do not call those troughs under the eaves of the roof "gutters". Using that term would mark you as a foreigner.

  • 5
    To my surprise, we have them in the UK. The terms “catch basin” and “storm drain” are often used interchangeably because both options catch and redirect water runoff. However, they differ by purpose and the types of water runoff they handle. For example, a catch basin catches rainfall or garden and lawn water runoff and is a part of a residential landscape drainage system. On the other hand, a storm drain is located on the side of city roads to catch stormwater runoff and prevent road flooding. A storm drain is a kind of catch basin and a part of a greater municipal storm sewer system. Nov 16, 2023 at 18:37
  • 1
    "In Canada we'd call that a catchbasin" - What part of Canada? We'd call the grille a grate in the Maritimes, which is part of a storm drain. I've never heard catchbasin before (including now that I live in Montreal). Also we'd call the roof things eavestroughs.
    – wjandrea
    Nov 17, 2023 at 20:58
  • 1
    This would be in Eastern Ontario where we're always instructed to keep our catchbasins clear after an ice storm and especially before a flash freeze. I tend to think of a "grate" (or a "grating") as the large metal fence that blocks entry into a culvert but come to think of it, it could apply to the metal cover over a storm sewer catchbasin, especially the big ones that catch your bicycle tires or your street hockey ball disappears into. Nov 17, 2023 at 21:25
  • 1
    The catch basin is the chamber under the grate where solid debris is trapped so that it is not flushed into the sewer lines along with the running water during a storm. Nov 18, 2023 at 1:11
  • 1
    catchbasin is a technical term used in roadway building etc. but not by the general public, I wouldn't think. What do you call troughs under the eaves in Canada? Leaf catchers? :)
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:05

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