Old Cistern Under my house

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Old 12-11-06, 08:04 AM
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Old Cistern Under my house

I am in the process of rehabing an old 1900 farm house & have torn out some floor & found an old cistern under it, full of water! My original plan was to pump this thing out & fill it with dirt, concrete scrap, bricks etc. It's rather large, probably about 5' around at the bottom & 7' deep. I pumped it out yesterday & it took 4 hours. A guy at work said that if I fill it in, I should probably install a sump pump at the top. It is taking in water, we had rain a week or so ago & the water level rose quite a bit. My main concern is that filling this thing in might cause more trouble than leaving it & just covering it. I think a sump pump is a good idea no matter what I do. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Dan
 
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Old 12-11-06, 08:24 AM
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You could use the cistern . . . for irrigation, perhaps. It's the wave of the future to filter and use rainwater.

Even in rural areas where water is plentiful, it doesn't stay that way after the big cities get thirsty and start getting their water from "out there." After a few years, water levels mysteriously drop and wells dry up. The big cities are blamed, but they say "Can't prove it is us." And they are right, hydrology is not that advanced.

So why don't you turn a perceived negative into a positive? Any cover you use, should be made of concrete and probably 2" thick. You can pour one yourself, but moving it would need a few people.
 
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Old 12-11-06, 09:43 AM
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When I lived in the Bahamas every house had a cistern. We used that water for all purposes including drinking water.
If I am reading your post correctly your cistern is directly under your house.
If that is the case your roof runoff is used to fill your cistern via downspouts.
You need to find the downspout(s) that feed it and disconnect them. Once you do that you can pump out and then use a sump pump to keep the water to a minimum.
When you put the floor back in I would put in an Inspection Port that you can lift up and drop a sump pump down for the occasional use.
Mark_ms

PS I would keep cistern for future use as vey says.
 

Last edited by Mark_MS; 12-11-06 at 10:05 AM. Reason: lost my train of thought!!
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Old 12-11-06, 10:10 AM
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I agree with Vey, use the thing. Do you garden? A pump out to the garden would save lots on the water bill and a hand pump, even more. Lots of folks in the area I moved from do that.
 
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Old 12-11-06, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Smokey49 View Post
I agree with Vey, use the thing. Do you garden? A pump out to the garden would save lots on the water bill and a hand pump, even more. Lots of folks in the area I moved from do that.
I do garden, well, I will if I ever get this darn house finished. I could use it for that. I was just concerned with moisture & possible flooding of the crawl space. I could always install the sump pump at the top of the cistern to keep the overall level down & install a regular pump to go to the bottom for general use. If these are not issues, then I think I might keep it. I haven't noticed any drain tile outside the house anywhere.
 
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Old 12-11-06, 12:29 PM
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You say it's a 1900 farm house cistern. Why the floor work? Was damage caused by moisture issues from the cistern? If not, seems it may not be a problem if it hasn't since 1900. If so, how about sealing the underside of the house in that area, sort of like a deck, after the work is done? Just guessing here.
 
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Old 12-11-06, 01:12 PM
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Floor work was done because is was extremely off level & joist size was not correct for the length they were run, termite damage also. There did not appear to be any damage from the cistern or signs of overflowing, but I want to plan so that I am confident there will not be any in the future also.
 
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Old 12-11-06, 01:56 PM
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How is the water getting into it? Is it just coming in through cracks or are there some pipes directing water into it? If pipes then you need to find and disconnect them to keept he water.
If you still want it filled then you should bust some holes in the bottom so it won't hold water any more before you fill it.
 
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