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Thread: Unique problem needs help-Shallow well pump/cistern

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Rangerfan558's Avatar
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    Post Unique problem needs help-Shallow well pump/cistern

    I have a 48" diameter by approx 20ft deep cistern made of stacked on end, concrete tiles that are 48" diameter by 48" tall. This cistern was abandoned in the late 60's as our primary water source due to a large capacity user drilling twin wells to fill a commercial swimming pool. This dried up the source on my well. We in turn, drilled a 120 ft deep well which serves our potable water needs.

    Lately the flow into the bottom of the cistern is strong enough to be able to fill the entire diameter up to just short of ground level. It never completely goes dry any more in the summer months.
    The Cistern has failed, in the respect that it will leak out (under pressure) from the lap joints of the tile, and the bung holes that are used to lift these drainage tiles when used in a normal fashion. I see this because I have been pumping it out with a large 3" capacity gas pump and watching the water flow back into the cistern WITH FORCE through the joins and the bung holes. The bottom feed must be a spring, when I pump below it the 2" hole shoots water under enough pressure to shoot 3 foot out.

    I need to fill this cistern in for insurance reasons. I'd like to drop a 1-1/4' poly pipe in the well right in front of that bottom source, for a 1/2hp Jet pump and tank, to supply my irrigation need for my large garden. This will cut use on my deep well also, as I water nightly. I suppose I need a casing of some sort as I will need to fill the bottom with 3-4ft of concrete, then patch the rest of the way up with hydraulic cement, before back filling with sand/gravel/rocks.

    Does anyone have experience in any of this?

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Default

    If you patch all the holes, how will water get into the cistern?

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Rangerfan558's Avatar
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    Default re: patching hole

    I figured I would wait for the dry season, and drop a ladder down there, having someone standing by with the pump to keep the incoming at bay, and patch with a bucket of hydraulic cement, working my way up. I'd leave the one true incoming source, 2 feet from the bottom. then I'd sink a suction pipe down and affix it to the wall. I'm pretty sure with hydraulic cement, that should seal all the escape/inlet holes nice and tight. A big job for sure, but I need to do something, as the static pressure of that huge stack of water was pushing out of those joints and bungholes, and started to seep into my basement (5 feet away) I'd hate like hell to cut a hole in a perfectly good floor, install a sump, only to hear it run CONSTANTLY in the spring. I'd rather fix the problem outdoors. I might just also have the benefit of free water to utilize drip irrigation in my garden.

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I think patching seams and holes in the well tiles is an exercise in futility if you think it will keep the water down. From what you say of the volume of water entering the cistern through these voids, the ground surrounding the well tiles is porous and the water will find its way up from the bottom around the outer perimeter of the well tiles.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    And if that was successful (which I doubt) you'd probably end up with a lot of water outside and under the basement wall and floor.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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