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Thread: Hand pump for cistern

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rcramp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Hand pump for cistern

    I have a cistern that is buried and I want to hand pump water from 5 feet below ground level to 25 feet above for a tank that I want to use for irrigation/flushing.
    I realize that this would be too far for a 'shallow well' hand pump if the pump was at the highest level but is it different because the pump is lifting 5 feet and pushing up 25 feet? (25 feet horizontal as well)
    What is the best hand pump for this application. I want 5 gal/min and want it to be hand/mechanical. Is this possible?

    thank you

  2. #2
    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    A hand pump can push as far as your arm is strong enough. It just can't pull more than about 25-27 feet. This is because atmospheric pressure is just about the same as the pressure at the bottom of a column of water 30' tall.

    Once you have a column of water that's almost 30' tall, atmospheric pressure can't lift the water any higher.

    As for 5GPM, with a head pressure of 30', (that's 5' pulling and 25' pushing), A 1/4hp pump would work. A person supposedly can produce around 100 Watts continuously, a HP is 746 Watts so if you're in good shape, you could probably pump 2 to 2.5 GPM.

    An Olympian might pump 5GPM for the first minute.


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