DIY Building A Brick Cistern To Store Volumes Of Filtered Water

Categories: DIY

Water from the slow sand filters is filling the cistern now: May 8 2011. The green color is from the concrete and reflections.

Another thought here: consider using solid concrete cap blocks 4X8X16 instead of concrete blocks 8X8X16 to build the cistern (If I build another one this is the way I will do it). it will take more blocks, and more mortar, but they are solid and it will probably be easier to get a better seal with the mortar between blocks. It will not be necessary to fill them with concrete so the cost will likely not be much greater. Sealer will probably still be needed, but that is not a major expense and does not take long to apply.

June 18 2011 (Update) Concrete delivered is currently running about $110 a yard and most places will have a minimum of 3 yards. We used a line pump that went about 210 feet to the root cellar near the cistern. To fill 225 concrete blocks of the size 8X8X16 (in inches) took about 2.5 yards of cement. We were fortunate: the contractor who brought out the equipment and ordered the cement helped and set up his line pump for us. We used a 2 inch hose; and handling it was fairly easy.

The cistern is full as of May 10 2011. The pipe is 50 inches long (47 inches under water). This view is looking down into the cistern. The cistern took 7 and 1/2 days to fill. The filters flow rate is 52 litres per hour. 9450 liters at 52 litres per hour = 181.73 hours to fill or 7.572 days. So far, it looks good. No measurable leaking in 7.5 days.

After 1 year some of the wood portions of the cistern have become infested with wet wood termites and the wood has started to mildew. The wood that was sealed with the Blue Max coating is ok. For anyone considering a cistern built like this one, I would highly recommend sealing all the wood portions with some kind of potable water approved sealer - the Blue Max sealer works very well on wood - just be sure the wood is dry before you apply it.

August 21 2011 (Update) The cistern now has no measurable leakage after 3 weeks of no added input water. The extra coats of cement (mentioned in the note above from May 11 2011) have (apparently) made the cistern water tight.

September 13 2011 (Update) The cistern still has no measurable leakage after 6 weeks of no added input water. This is the time of year we are really happy to have 2500 gallons of water stored up - temperatures have been in the 90's several days now and in the upper 80's for the past week and we have had no rain for the month of August.

The galvalume roofing on the cistern top May 2 2011.

November 29 2011 (Update) The cistern still has nomeasureable leakage after 16 weeks of no added input water. We have used about 250 gallons of water from the cistern, and it is now filling again. The water from the cistern is better than our deep well water. (The surface well thatsupplys the filters is now full of water again and is in operation.)

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