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I have an old cistern, under our garage (the garage has been turned into a room). It smelled musty sometimes, and we looked inside the cistern, and pumped lots of water out. There is now just about an inch of water left, with sediment that needs to be removed. It looks like the downspouts are sealed up, and we are checking to see if more water leaks in, especially during the rainy spring. We want to seal up the cistern and act like its not even there, but do not want musty scents or any other issues while using the room above. Does anyone know what steps next to do? Thanks!
Isn't there an issue of the walls not being strong enough to support the weight of added fill? I've heard that if the cistern walls are part of the foundation for the house (or at least that room) that it could be too much for the walls, but don't know if that's true.
Just a thought, but two of our neighbors turned their old cisterns into storm shelters as we live in a tornado prone area. They sealed them up and one is under a garage and the other half inder the kitchen. Like I said, it's just another idea.
Buildingit, Thanks, I also found that same site that you did, but I believe it mainly deals wiith outdoor cisterns, as in your case. I have heard that those kinds are much easier to deal with than the kind that I have. What I have been told is the outdoor cisterns can be filled, (if no longer using, of course) with landfill from your area, or big rocks. Some construction sites are eager to be rid of rock or earth they do not want. It wouldn't have to be pretty either, since it is going underground. I would think the only expense you would have would be the delivery of the fill, and if you decided to put nice soil on top, but if you are going to put a patio over it, you might want it smoothed out?? In my case, I don't think I can fill it, I've heard state law says I can't because it shares a wall with my foundation, and fill would be too heavy, could cause walls to cave. I did call a few cistern companies to come look and give opinions, and am still in that process. Hope this helps!
Our cistern is round and it is right next to the house. I wonder if this would be the same problem that you wrote about with it sharing a wall with the foundation... or did you mean that one of the walls in your cistern is actually the same as your foundation wall?
I wonder about about the weight being a problem in any situation... It seems odd that it could be a problem. If a home's entire foundation is in the ground- why would filling any empty nearby pocket (cistern) be a problem? Especially if it used to be able to support the weight of being full of water when it was being used as a cistern?
What types of places have you had come out to take a look? Care to share? I don't even know where to start...
How about the city-- do they require that you fill it?
Our cistern is under what used to be a garage, then the garage (before we moved there) was remodeled into a room. Another garage was added on the other side of this room, but the house's original foundation is under the old garage, now this room. So, technically, its under our house, not outside of it. (which is easier to deal with, from what I hear, because you can just have it filled without going through windows, etc) As for my cistern, the weight issue on the foundation, I don't know if that's true, but I was told that. Many things to look into. I am in the Cincinnati area, and called some Cincy cistern companies I found in the yellow pages, and some in N. KY. They will come out, some for a small fee, to examine your cistern and give you an estimate of what can be done. I have to go now, but if you have any more questions, please reply.