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Cistern is not used, but is it leaking?

If so, from where would water come into the abandoned cistern? It is basically a concrete porch with a trap door lid on top, and shares a wall with the rear of the building. In the basement area, it appears to be seeping water, and it collects about 2 inches on the concrete floor of the basement. A photo in the dark revealed a greenish cast to the track marks of the water leaks. Algea? From the cistern? How could water continue to collect that much in the cistern? I haven't looked in the manhole cover to see if there is water in the cistern, but can do that. There are no gutters pouring into the cistern, and it hasn't been used in many years. No evidence of a leftover spigot or pipe from the cistern into the basement either. Is it common for cisterns to continue to collect water from say, the ground through leaks, even when they are no longer used?

Maybe sand to fill it from a large, large dumptruck would take care of this problem!

Or maybe the basement is leaking from the floor? When the owner got the house, the basement had muddy sludge-like stuff on the floor. They shoveled it up into a garbage can, and now there appears to be black slimy water. Not sure that would survive the days of coal that used to be the heating source many years ago. Built in the 20's. Owners are asking me what to do!

I can't figure out the mud, or the black water, or the source.

All I see is money waiting to be spent....


Re: Cistern is not used, but is it leaking?

Most cisterns are not water tight, the allow water to leak in. Best bet is to check with you local building department on proper way to fill it. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules about how to fill wells and cisterns.


Re: Cistern is not used, but is it leaking?

Since the basement floor has the 2" of water perpetually and some slime and mud, it may be logical to assume the cistern is collecting the slime and silt and draining it into the basement, perhaps at the junction with the floor (which I could not see due to the 2" of water during the inspection/advice session)...

Is it correct that cisterns leak water into them from the soil and thus can constantly drain into the shared wall? That's my analysis to give them on this matter. As for filling, I will check with the county environmental office . . . must be cheaper to fill than dig out.

I would guess earth filled into the cistern with the floor of the cistern busted up some to allow any collected water in the soil to go lower instead of pooling and still entering the basment - that this is the way to go - break holes in the floor of the thing to create drain holes. ????

Wanting to advise to keep the labor to a minimum while maximizing the effectiveness of the repair....


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