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Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Treeman
February 26, 2016 07:55PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 105

What are the do's and don'ts?

I have read quite a bit on the construction of cisterns but there isn't a lot about the finer details.

I am very conscious about water conservation but need to have a better understanding from those who deal with it constantly.

What should we look for when buying a home?
What are the yearly maintenance issues?
How many allons are needed per year?

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

fidodog
February 26, 2016 11:52PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 12

Quote
Treeman
What are the do's and don'ts?

I have read quite a bit on the construction of cisterns but there isn't a lot about the finer details.

I am very conscious about water conservation but need to have a better understanding from those who deal with it constantly.

What should we look for when buying a home?
What are the yearly maintenance issues?
How many allons are needed per year?

Glad you posted this. Something more to research. I might be able to supply some answers from my landlord here in CO, USA. From what I've seen (or haven't seen) it doesn't look like a bunch of constant maintenance, Time to learn more, I guess.

Anyone with knowledge on this, please chime in. smiling

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Scubadoo
February 27, 2016 12:40AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,092

They clean and reseal the cisterns under our condos every few years. You'll probably want a super dooper reverse osmosis filter to maintain if you want to drink the water regularly.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

fidodog
February 27, 2016 01:40AM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 12

Quote
Scubadoo
They clean and reseal the cisterns under our condos every few years. You'll probably want a super dooper reverse osmosis filter to maintain if you want to drink the water regularly.

I'm on a well at my current location and we have a UV filter. Would that work? Water's different everywhere you go. How many gallons is a Super Dooper RO set up compared to (lets say) an under sink model?

Thanks for ringing in. smiling

~ Andrew

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Scubadoo
February 27, 2016 02:09AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,092

I'm not claiming to be a water filter expert but UV is only intended to kill bacteria. A particulate filter will take out particles. A charcoal filter will absorb some but not all chemicals (including oder producing chemicals). Combine these to get all three.

No matter what, an under the sink filter is not going to cut it with a cistern, you need whole house.

Anything and everything including any chemicals that land on your roof (or chemicals that leach form your roof) will go into the cistern other than what the screen catches. Those chemicals could come from upper atmosphere, car/truck exhaust, pesticide overspray, WAPA plant, used to be Hovensa plant, etc. So you'd need something like a reverse osmosis or distillation filter if you want to remove all the chemicals as well as the other stuff. Reverse osmosis is what they have in all the rainmaker machines I believe.

Of course you can get away with basic whole house UV and particulate filtration for the bulk of your water and use a smaller under or over the counter reverse osmosis filter for consumption. Swallowing a little water from a UV/particulate filter while brushing your teeth shouldn't be a problem.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.
avatar

CruzanIron
February 27, 2016 06:50AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 2,395

Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 27, 2016 07:37AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
CruzanIron
Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

Exactly! Never heard of one person sickened by drinking plain cistern water. All these relatively new filtration systems line a lot of pockets. Simple works fine. The only place where I've ever had to buy water was a building which had been added onto over the years and the original cistern was too small to supply everyone's needs. Depending on the size of your cistern, a cup of bleach thrown in every month does the trick. A simple mesh filter in the downspouts stops debris falling in and if after several years your cistern accumulates a bunch of settled gunk on the bottom, drain it out and have it cleaned.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

watruw8ing4
February 27, 2016 07:39AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 851

Quote
CruzanIron
Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

thumbs up

We do have a whole house UV and particulate filtering system. But so many here do not, and survive just fine. I would not be without the particulate filters, in any case, though, because any solid matter that gets through can end up clogging faucet aerators on a regular basis.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

fdr
February 27, 2016 07:50AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,216

Quote
OldTart
Quote
CruzanIron
Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

Exactly! Never heard of one person sickened by drinking plain cistern water.

Well, now you have. I drank bottled water over ice cubes that I didn't realize were made with cistern water (found out later) at a friend's place. Started feeling queasy soon after, then threw up for about a day. That was the only thing it could have been. I've been a lot more careful since.

YMMV; my digestion is on the sensitive side.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 27, 2016 08:36AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
fdr

Well, now you have. I drank bottled water over ice cubes that I didn't realize were made with cistern water (found out later) at a friend's place. Started feeling queasy soon after, then threw up for about a day. That was the only thing it could have been.

Absolutely must have been the only thing it could possibly have been. silly smiley

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

fdr
February 27, 2016 08:39AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,216

Quote
OldTart
Quote
fdr

Well, now you have. I drank bottled water over ice cubes that I didn't realize were made with cistern water (found out later) at a friend's place. Started feeling queasy soon after, then threw up for about a day. That was the only thing it could have been.

Absolutely must have been the only thing it could possibly have been. silly smiley

It was the only thing I ingested that day. OT, sorry - I forgot you know everything.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 27, 2016 09:12AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
fdr
It was the only thing I ingested that day. OT, sorry - I forgot you know everything.

Wow, such belligerence towards someone who's agreeing with you? Tut tut.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.
avatar

Dante
February 27, 2016 10:05AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 253

Quote
OldTart
Quote
CruzanIron
Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

Exactly! Never heard of one person sickened by drinking plain cistern water. All these relatively new filtration systems line a lot of pockets. Simple works fine. The only place where I've ever had to buy water was a building which had been added onto over the years and the original cistern was too small to supply everyone's needs. Depending on the size of your cistern, a cup of bleach thrown in every month does the trick. A simple mesh filter in the downspouts stops debris falling in and if after several years your cistern accumulates a bunch of settled gunk on the bottom, drain it out and have it cleaned.

Same here my family and I have been drinking the cistern water for 10 years , no filter , just screens in the downspouts , and a cup of bleach about once a month .... Never had an issue .

Keeps you healthy wink

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.
avatar

Dante
February 27, 2016 10:13AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 253

[/quote]

Well, now you have. I drank bottled water over ice cubes that I didn't realize were made with cistern water (found out later) at a friend's place. Started feeling queasy soon after, then threw up for about a day. That was the only thing it could have been. I've been a lot more careful since.

YMMV; my digestion is on the sensitive side.[/quote]

I was going to mention this . Even those who do spend money on expensive filtration systems still ingest unfiltered cistern water at other peoples houses , and restaurants.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Treeman
February 27, 2016 10:58AM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 105

Thanks for the info.
I figured that it would be more of an issue with particulates than anything else. Just wondered about bacteria growth in cistern. Sounds like bleach will do the trick.

Does anyone collect their grey water for garden use?

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 27, 2016 11:53AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Many do - large scale and small scale both.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.
avatar

Dante
February 27, 2016 11:55AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 253

Yes , I do .

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Scubadoo
February 27, 2016 12:16PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,092

Quote
watruw8ing4
Quote
CruzanIron
Or you can just drink it without filtration as thousands have done for generations with no ill effects. Just chlorinate occasionally.

thumbs up

We do have a whole house UV and particulate filtering system. But so many here do not, and survive just fine. I would not be without the particulate filters, in any case, though, because any solid matter that gets through can end up clogging faucet aerators on a regular basis.

And clothes washers.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 27, 2016 01:06PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
watruw8ing4
I would not be without the particulate filters, in any case, though, because any solid matter that gets through can end up clogging faucet aerators on a regular basis.

I've not had to clean my kitchen aerator in the four years I've had it so far but DID have to clean the shower head filter - but would hazard a guess that it hadn't been cleaned out in many years. The increased water flow was lovely!

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.
avatar

Exit Zero
February 27, 2016 01:15PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,254

I have been drinking the cistern water - no filtration other than screens on the gutters - for 36 years in this house. My tenants downstairs have always drank it and any guests almost always drink it - used some bleach on rare occasions - never had to buy water, just rainfall and basic conservation - it overflows a few times a year after serious rain events. - it absolutely should be cleaned and resealed but is usually at least 3/4 full and I haven't wanted to dump/empty it and deal with the dirty mess it will cause - the only entrance is a hatch in my living room, so having workmen in my home for days - and the overall hassle involved for the days it will take - but will relent soon I think.

I have never had anyone feel unwell, cisterns overall seem to need very low maintenance but can certainly become contaminated and require emptying and cleaning resealing if it goes wrong.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Alana33
February 27, 2016 01:48PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,036

Just don't let iguanas get on the roof.
Always wise to keep tree branches and limbs cut back from roof and gutters.
Clean gutters regularly and replace gutter downspout screens, regularly.
I also clean roof regularly.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

AandA2VI
February 29, 2016 02:24AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 2,285

I cant drink cistern water. Had massive issues first year, got better the second house we moved into but still not good at all. We had a filter on the faucet on both houses - the cheap PUR ones. I figured it wasn't cleaning the water good enough, did a couple tests where I would switch to bottled water for a month and then back to cistern to see if it was that for sure and - for me it was. Not one problem since. Its annoying as I hate to fill those and lug those 5 gallon jugs around. I've also seen what our roofs looks like and I ain't drinking off that... even with bleach lol. Gross.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

vicanuck
February 29, 2016 08:17AM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 2,285

We have never had any filters, UV or RO systems on our cistern water. We pour a few cups of bleach in every month or so. Never a problem.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

OldTart
February 29, 2016 08:36AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

I wonder if any of those who claim sickness from cistern water or insist on consuming only water passed through expensive infiltration systems really know what's in their city tap water back home.

Re: Cisterns.... Keepin' it wet.

Alana33
February 29, 2016 10:50AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,036

Doesn't really matter. If they get sick, they get sick and they're not in the states, drinking tap water any longer.
I've never been ill off of drinking cistern water. Whether at my home or someone else's.
My old house had no filtration system.
Where I live now, for the last 13 years, just has a regular filtration system and it was in place when I purchased the home.

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