Cistern conversion to Well Possible? To be used for non-potable water.


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Old 04-02-13, 12:19 PM
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Cistern conversion to Well Possible? To be used for non-potable water.

Hello,

I moved into a house in the county in 2009, Windsor Ontario Canada area. The house was built in 1995 and at the same time a Cistern was installed. It is not in use today because city water is now available and has been run to the house. I still have the pressure tank etc in the basement not in use.

I originally thought the cistern was a well. It is 3' in diameter and cannot see the bottom. I really have no idea.
I pumped water out of the cistern using a 2" Gas pump with a 35" long intake hose. The water never recovered. A friend thinks it is a cistern.

I would like to have a non-potable water supply for outdoor use. Is there any way to turn this cistern into a well? I've been looking for local well companies to ask this question to.

Thanks.
 
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Old 04-02-13, 06:20 PM
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If it was a cistern there must have been some system in place to fill it. Take a thorough walk around the house & property looking for pipes just sticking out of the ground especially near the house. I would assume they had the gutters drain into the cistern but another source is possible.

But... out there in the middle of nowhere I doubt it's a cistern. I suspect it is a dug well. How long did you wait to see if the water level recovered? You can remove the cover and look inside. If you don't see holes or the end of pipes where water would enter it's probably a well.

Once you have a way of getting water into the cistern (or well) figured out getting water out of it is pretty easy with a pump. Since the original users of the cistern/well also needed a pump there may already be power or at least the electrical line run to service it.
 

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Old 04-08-13, 06:52 PM
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Hello Pilot Dane,

Thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay in responding. I was trying to get the lid of the well/cistern off but it was jammed. Had to borrow a machine to lift it off. Weird as I lifted it off before (struggling under the weight).

The Water is at the brim of the well! So it IS a well! The friend that looked at it swore that a well would not be as wide in diameter, more like a pole shaft. Didn't make sense to me.

So I have water. I know the pump is not working. I can see 240V going from the house fuse panel marked for water pump.

So my remaining goal is to pump water from the well for above ground use. I read that it is easier to pump from inside the well, then to try to suck it up to the surface. True? This would be why well pumps are submerged? Do i really need to buy a house-type pump to do this? I may want to get water daily for 4 - 6 hours, then have the pump turn off. Any ideas on what i can do? Power is at the well, but what kind of pump should I use?

Thanks again, appreciated.
 
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Old 04-08-13, 11:40 PM
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I pumped water out of the cistern using a 2" Gas pump with a 35" long intake hose. The water never recovered.
So when you first pumped it out the water didn't recover. Now it has recovered. You may not be able to pump water out of it for 4-6 hours a day.

You could use a submersible type pump or a jet pump for a shallow well. The submersible may be the least expensive and the easiest to setup. Your ultimate decision needs to be based on how many gallons per hour of water you need and at what pressure.
 
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Old 04-09-13, 06:16 AM
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Wells like yours once were common. The would dig a really big & deep hole and at the bottom usually place stone, bricks or cement blocks and then a concrete culvert pipe. They would backfill around the pipe and put on another section of pipe until they got to the surface. In my area the pipes are usually 20" or 24" in diameter and most wells are 35-40 feet deep.

In general the well itself holds the water and is the reserve, basically the amount of water you can pump at one time. Those types of wells around here regenerate slowly compared to a modern deep/drilled well so you will have to monitor your pumping until you know how much water it can provide.

One big problem with those wells is they often ran the pipe and electrical to the well when they were building it with them entering the well a decent ways down. They made no provision for easy servicing or access. The only way to access the wiring or pipin in the well is to go down into the well. Something that is considered extremely unsafe by modern standards. It can be done with the proper equipment but something I would not attempt. Instead I would just dig a trench and run new wiring and whatever piping you may want.
 
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Old 04-09-13, 11:29 AM
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When I was in Georgia a few years ago, just about every old house had one of these and they were all abandoned and replaced with a new deep well. The old wells couldn't produce enough water for the modern household.
 
 

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