Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Water pump for a cistern/shallow well for lawn irrigation
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Water pump for a cistern/shallow well for lawn irrigation

My 1865 home has a mortar and stone tank underground. It's about 6 feet in diameter after a narrow brick opening, and 16 feet deep. The last time I checked there was 8 feet of water in it. There are some terra cotta pipes that lead to it, and similar pipes near gutters, I assume this is how it gets water but I need to test that. I also assume that this wasn't a septic tank at some point...

Anyway, I figured this would be a great source with which to water the lawn. We are on a slope, and the high side of the property is 10 or so feet higher than the well, so I would need something that can pump 26+ feet and power a sprinkler, right?

Here's where I get lost. Do the pumps have to be installed indoors? Is in my detached garage fine or do they also have to be protected from cold? What PSI/HP/etc do I need? Some pumps say they self prime, some don't, is priming a pump difficult? Is there anything else I should know?


Re: Water pump for a cistern/shallow well for lawn irrigation

first off ground water in not drinking water, go ahead and get it tested but even if it comes back clean it could become unsafe very quickly. so use it for the lawn only and the hose must be marker non potable water.
The pump could be installed in the bottom of the tank (this would be self priming) but care must be used so that in the winter the pipes and pump are drained so there is not breakage due to freezing.

Re: Water pump for a cistern/shallow well for lawn irrigation

No experience with using a sisterns for irrigation, but it seems unlikely a submerged pump would freeze in an underground tank that large. Any pipes coming out are another story. A farm supply store might be a good place to get some info and equipment for such a system. An above ground pump would have to be in a conditioned space or drained down for the winter. A foot valve near the bottom of the tank would keep a prime once it is primed the first time.

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