Cisterns

I m trying to find out about the care and feeding of a cistern. Its about 15 ft across and looks like it was suppose to be about 3 ft deep, guessing 2000 gal.. There is a 3 inch pipe flush with the bottom and I assume this was for draining it and two other pipes ,one about a third of the way from the bottom and the other about a third the way from the top. I figure one is the gozinta pipe and the other is the gozouta pipe but dont know which is which. I know it was built in 1974 and used for about 10 years before the owner decided to try other ways to treat his well water. Water is fairly alkaline ph8.5 has a lot of calcium iron and sulphurand sediment. I know the cistern was used for aeration, chlorination and ph adjustment. Chemicals were added to the cistern daily for this. The owner got tired of the daily regime and started trying various filters, auto chlorinators and maybe RO but the water was never as good as when he used the cistern. Any ifo on using the cistern would be greatly appreciated.
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In typed:

A reliable, "good" cistern is fairly expensive to run these days. You can't have the old open types that used to exist. Where is it getting its water from? JUST the well, or other place, too, like roof water? IMportant ot check.
I"d opt for a good water treatment system if it's that important to you. That would be either upgrading the cistern (not a big business anymore, IMO) or installing the right more modern equipment.
As I understand it, anyway - I'm no expert by any means.
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http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AE029
Do a GOOGLE Search for Cisterns
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Pop wrote:

I've always wondered about the old cisterns that gathered water from rain runoff. Seems like runoff would contain all sorts of insects, bird crap, etc. Did people use that water for drinking water? Sure doesn't sound healthy.
Bob
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The world is not really as dangerous as we've been led to believe. The cistern on the place we recently bought was at one time the only source of water. I'm sure they drank from it for 70+ years. There is a charcoal filter of sorts under the gutter downspout, made of brick. A pipe then leads under ground to the cistern. Ours is 22' deep with 18' of water in it. I'd rather drink rainwater that's been stored in a nice cool stone lined cistern than the crap that comes out of some city's systems.
--
Steve Barker



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At my aunt and uncle's house in Iowa where I lived in the late 30's, the downspouts had valves to control the rainwater. They were normally left in position to dump the water into barrels. After it had rained a while to flush everything, the valves were turned to direct the water into the cistern. I do not remember there being any kind of treatment of the water in the cistern. I remember once they had to have water hauled from town to fill the cistern. We all drank the cistern water and survived okay.
Don Young
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You connect filtration and purification systems to them.

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No, not for drinking water but for washing, bathing, etc.. The rain water types usually provided plenty of soft water for washing. They were also a handy place for a firetruck to drop a sucker to get water real quick; almost as good as having a swimming pool supply if they got there in time<g>.
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This cistern was fed by a well an will continue to be. The biggest purpose of having the cistern was to treat the water for sulfur and iron through aeration and remove sediment(blue mud). As I have been told the pump feeding the cistern only ran once a day about 1AM giving solids a chance to settle out. I know every morning the Ph and Chlorine was checked and adjusted. This doesnt sound expensive but a bit aggravating. Im not very fond of relentless repetitive task either. I am thinking of automatically adding chlorine on the well side of the cistern as I understand this helps in removing the sulfur and iron. The water is very hard, I dont have any numbers but it is almsot impossible to use it to wash your hair without softening. Is there a chemical I can add to the cistern to soften the water or is using a water softener my only option? The cistern is basically a big masonry tank with a roof over it . Space between the tank and roof is screened with copper screen. I guess that is why it is still in good shape. There are also two other cisterns(3500 gal each) on the property. These are made of fiberglass and were feed by water from the workshop roof and used to water the garden. I m beginning to think these would be more useful if cleaned and disinfected and fed from the well.
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In typed:

I think the "cost" is in the maintenance of it. Are you SURE it can meet potabilty requirements for code? Not having one now of course, I don't know, but it sounds like a lot of chemicals and equipment to keep a LOT of water controlled compared to the demand system of a water softener and/or water treatment tank. I could see using it for washing, etc., but not for drinking and cooking. Any kind of opening is a good place for varmint/critter collection of dead bodies et al, even if they're just insects. I think, rather than taking anything I or anyone else might say here, I'd look for an expert in your area who not only knows the systems but also knows what can and cannot be done with them. I just can not get my head around that kind of water being clean enough for drinking OR for today's washing machines. But that's my opinion, not a fact, so ... <g>
Aside: I DO remember as a kid, hauling buckets of water from it upstairs when the old well went dry one summer and a couple of winters when power went out. And once it overflowed and ruined our fancy new coal stoker<g>. Ahh, the memories of youth!
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On Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:08:50 -0400, "Jimmie D"

The house my sons purchased about 5 years ago has two cisterns ...about 5000 gallons between the two ... The house is close to if not over 100 years old..the cisterns date to the late 60's... Drilling a well was an option..but they discovered that the local wells had a tendency to run muddy or cave in...
They have water "tanked in" about every month or so from a near by town at a cost of about 35 bucks a month... which is not bad when the cost of drilling a well (not guarenteed to produce water) would run them close to 7000 big ones according to the estimates they have received.. Yes they do have a filter ... originally they had to run down to the basement to switch from one cistern to the other... that was corrected a few months ago now switching cistern is just a matter of pushing a button .. They have though about collecting water etc and feeding it to the cisterns BUT at this point its just not worth the effort and with 2 cisterns running out of water has never been a problem (crossed fingers)
PS: Until they purchased the house I never even knew that cisterns were still used... they had absolutely no problems getting financing etc and to date they are satisfied with it.
Bob G.
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