How do you clean cisterns? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Found a cistern on our daughter's property. Hasn't been used in years and they have spraying chemicals to kill fleas in the yard. How do we clean this old cistern out and make sure that the water is safe?

-- Deborah (, October 30, 2001


is there a way to get in there? a way to shut the water off,, wherres the water coming from, pump,, roof?? If nothing else,, you run it as dry as you can, twice,, then pour some bleach in there.

-- stan (, October 30, 2001.

Deborah, Pump out all the water, go down into it with biodegadable soap and bleach and scrub the bejeebers out of it and pump it out again. rinse it with hauled in city water and pump out again. There used to be concrete sealer that you could brush like paint to keep in the good water and keep the bad stuff from seeping into it. If you fill it from the roof you need to wash down the roof or let the rain wash off the dirt, bird droppings, etc before you divert the rain water into the cistern. A filter on the pipe going into the cistern is good and a cover that keeps small critters from falling in it is good too. I had 2 homesteads with cistern water and we drank the water after cleaning them and sealing any leaks and tested the water.

-- Karen in Kansas (, October 30, 2001.

I second Karen. That is the way we cleaned our cistern yearly on the farm in North Dakota. One note of caution, have some ALWAYS on top watching the person using chlorine bleach in the cistern. Fumes can be bad and cause one to passout if exposed long enough. We always came out after 15 minutes or so for fresh air. Of course, we did not have sprayers in those days and they might work just as well with pure bleach.

-- Joe (, October 31, 2001.

Debrorah, you didn't mention if you planned on using the cistern for animal or human use, so check on this before you use this. Countryside magazine had a hint for KEEPING the water clear, by putting in some slaked lime into the water, keeping scum from forming on the surface. Don't remember the issue (I often read back issues), so check this out for future use.

-- j.r. guerra (, October 31, 2001.

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