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  1. #1
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    1996 Kubota L4200 GST, LA680 FEL

    Default What to do with old cistern?

    On my new property I have about 1 acre that has been used pretty much as a junkyard for probably the last 20 or 30 years. It has a few large trees and is fenced off from the rest of the property and I am planning on putting a travel trailer on it so we can spend the weekend down there in comfort.

    There are several items that need done including hauling off a lot of junk, but that doesn't take a lot of advice, it will just take a lot of effort.

    The question I have is that there is a large cistern on the property. It has what appears to be intact cement walls and is probaby 15 feet deep and 10 feet in diameter at the bottom. Right now it has been used as a dumpster and is about 1/2 way full of junk. I'm thinking the thing to do is to just fill it in with dirt.

    I have rural water available to me at the site so I really don't think I need it for water storage. I guess I could clean it up and try to use it to catch rainwater to use for irrigation and things like that since my rural water will be expensive ($8 per 1,000 gallons).

    I am also planning on putting in a septic tank and drain field. There isn't anyway to legally use the cistern as part of a septic system is there?

    Any other thoughts or ideas?

    Thanks, Nathan
    1996 Kubota L4200 GST, LA680 FEL, + several attachments

    www.padens.com

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    May 2006
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    Purcellville, Va
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    B7200D, B8200D

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    If you're not going to use it to hold water, you need to clean your way down to the bottom and break it up. If you just try to fill it up with dirt, it'll catch any water that gets to it and you'll end up with a mudpit.
    I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.

  3. #3
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Central Texas, Jarrell
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    Kubota 5030HSTC

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    Hmm... does the phrase "tornado alley" ring a bell?

    I think you have an ideal tornado shelter... get it cleaned out, install a ladder, battery lights (to see snakes and spiders at night), some sort of heavy roofing, preferably rain resistant. Many would be excited to have such an opportunity for the cost of cleanup.

    Be sure that the walls are reinforced...so they don't cave in on you... however, if it has survived all this time, likely it is sufficiently sturdy to remain intact for a while longer.
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    Wow! 10' x 15' deep. I think texasjohn has the best solution. However, if you do decide to fill it in, you will need to break it up first and fill it and mound up over the top to shed water away.

    I doubt that a septic system could be satisfactorily done, but I don't really see a problem with that except it might cost more to convert the cistern that it would to put in a new septic system. Everything a normal septic dealer has is geared toward standard installation. Your's would be a special case and you'd surely be charged extra at every step.
    Jim


  5. #5
    Super Star Member kennyd's Avatar
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    Westminster, MD
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    John Deere 4110

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    Catching rainwater for irrigation is the best choice IMHO.
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  6. #6
    Elite Member schmism's Avatar
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    Peoria IL
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    i have one about the same size.... it was used to catch rain water.... if it survies the house construction i will continue to use it to catch rain water off the metal roof.

    jury is still out on useing it for a grey water system and it will be a LONG run to get the water over to the garden, but who knows....

    the old brick lined well will be filled 10' from it will be filled in with washed gravel.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    I asked someone local to the area and they said the best use is as a big trash can! They must have been related to the folks that were using it in the past!

    They were serious though - said to just fill it with all the trash and then burn it down and fill it back up, burn it, and repeat until full. Kill two birds with one stone by getting rid of the trash and filling up the cistern.

    They made it sound like that it was pretty common practice.
    1996 Kubota L4200 GST, LA680 FEL, + several attachments

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  8. #8
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    May be common practice... but you create an environmental hazard... difficult to prove when you sell the property that toxic chemicals, led acid batteries, etc. were not thrown down there... legal liability to next purchaser...reduces your asking price.... suggest you clean it out, not leave filled with trash...
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Farwell, Michigan
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    JD 2010

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    I have a cistern in my basement that had one wall cut out and was turned into storage for home canned fruits and vegetables. It is always cooler than the rest of the basement and acts similar to a root cellar.
    I like the tornado shelter idea, irrigation water storage or it could be converted into a root cellar.
    David B

  10. #10
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
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    Charlottesville, VA, USA
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    JD 1025, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010

    Default Re: What to do with old cistern?

    Wish I had it to collect rain water. You'd be surprised at the amount of water you can capture off a roof. Around here, I could easily collect 10,000 gallons/yr IF I had a place to put it. Right now, I have 2 tanks at 330 gallons each that fill up with a 1/2" of rainfall. They're pipe to about 1200' of poly line that runs down my hill to the orchard and garden down below and on over to a little stream that I can pump out of.

    I'd put a solar-powered sump pump in it and connect to some poly pipe to areas where you'd like to have free water.

    Ralph
    The natural gardener
    God's original intent

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