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Are these cisterns?

Hello everyone. We are looking into buying an old farmhouse in Illinois. In Dewitt County. The house is very solild for it's age. It was build in 1920. However my question's are; There is a hand dug well on the property that is no longer in use. They now have a drilled one. But my concern is there are also three looking man holes next to the house. Two of them have a metal cover you can remove. The other has a cement cover that you can remove they are all round covers. But I have no idea what they could be. Two of them are around about the corner of the house. One on each corner and the other one with the cement cover is located right off the back porch steps.

Any ideas on what these might be? I am going back out there tonight to take pictures and I will post them. But just concern for if they are cisterns do I need to do anythng with them as in fill them in, leave them. How do I know they are in good shape? What not. Please any advice would be great.

For I really love this house.


Re: Are these cisterns?

It could be clean outs for a septic system. If they are for cisterns you would need to check with locale building department on fill in procedures for wells and cisterns.


Re: Are these cisterns?

We had a similar issue - we bought a old home that no one had lived in for over 2 years. We started running the water and determined that the underground bunkers were septic tanks!

Re: Are these cisterns?

They could be cisterns or part of the septic system. If the former and unused, then you will need to fill them along with the old well as your homeowners insurance is going to require this for safety purposes even if the law doesn't.

If sound enough and of sufficient size, one could possibly be converted to a storm cellar if local codes allow it. Just be sure that it wasn't ever a part of a septic system. And with the age of the house it would be wise to carefully scout around the property for any old outhouse locations, as these holes too can sink or cave in causing casualty. Many old rural dwellings still used outhouses even after indoor plumbing was installed- my Grandma had one in use till 1983!


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