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Old 01-04-2020, 12:44 AM   #1
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Default Cisterns

Any of you have experience with them. I wrote a post about them in the high efficiency toilet tank thread and was reminded of a gross story.

This old woman(80'-90's) called our shop like 10 years ago. She said that while she couldn't taste much anymore her water tasted funny. She had a spring fed well. The spring bubbled up out of the ground and was funneled into the top of a cistern which had a collapsed wooden lid. I deer fell in. Luckily I was not one of the two guys who had to pull it out. My now manager went with a helper, got a rope around it, and pulled it out with their van.

There is another house I know of with a cistern in the basement fed from the gutters. There is a very nice, dark red with gold pin stripe, antique piston pump hooked up to it that is twinned into the plumbing system along with the submersible pump. Both lines have a check valve on them before they tee together. The piston pump has a check on the inlet too and the breaker and disconnect switches are on. God help those people if the submersible pump fails. That piston pump was used until the new well was drilled less than 30 years ago. I can only imagine how many dead rodents/bugs/things are in that cistern.

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Old 01-04-2020, 12:20 PM   #2
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I actually had one at a place I owned in the country. They need to be looked after regularly, I shocked ours every second month. We also drained it once a year and cleaned it. Don't forget people entering them need a safety line on them. They are known to be low in Oxygen like wells and septic tanks. Back when I was learning the trade my Journey Man said going in one was like trying out trying out a coffin. The fit can be too good.
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:25 PM   #3
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Most older houses have or had cisterns around here, but I’ve never seen one in use. Pretty much all of them were fed by eve troths.

After I bought my house I decided to explore the crawl spaces. Under my kitchen there is a round clay cistern. It’s 4’ at the opening and bells out to about 8’ in diameter and roughly 12’ deep. My son was 4 at the time and I showed it to him. I told him that if continues to need timeouts I would cut a door in the kitchen floor and that would be his timeout spot. He never had another timeout.

When we get a heavy thaw or rain it takes about three days for the water to seep into my Michigan basement.

My neighbors house has three cisterns.
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