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Lefte 05-14-2011 04:16 PM

Our house was built in circa 1900 and I have a cistern in the back with a large opening and a large 150 lb lid. The issue is I want to make this a patio area. The cistern is no longer hooked up, but might have water in it. We have been using it for a couple of renovation projects and dumping dirt/rock that was left over in there, however that is only a small amount.

Questions are:
1. Can I fill this in, take off the cover level the lid area with cement or dirt to place a paver patio in place. (or some other sort of flagstone etc)

2. What grade to fill it in, cheepest is bestest?

3. Will filling it in and removeing the poured slab over it cause issues. I'm also not sure that the poured slab/sidewalk isnt the top of the cistern.

4. We currently have some water that comes in from that area, could it be from the cistern?

Any and all opinions and guidance is are appreciated.




hayewe farm 05-14-2011 05:51 PM

First you need to check with your local extension office or building department. In many jurisdictions there are very strict rules for decommissioning wells and cisterns. They should have a fact sheet about doing it properly.

Knucklez 05-14-2011 10:33 PM

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what!? why would the city care if you decommissioned your own cistern? this is just rain water run off that every house has, just yours is directed to storage. if you fill it in and now your rain water is just going into the backyard or road or whatever - it is like everywhere else in the city all across north america.

i wouldn't be calling the city about filling in a residential cistern. geeze.. or maybe i am missing something?

for pavers don't you have to take away a bit of the top soil (and replace with better draining material)? dump the excess top soil into the cistern. fill it up but don't leave any air gaps. i.e. try not to dump only bricks because it will settle over time and leave a depression on the top surface. you can mix the soil with bigger stones/bricks so that the soil will fill in the air gaps. if you still need more, check out the municipal supply of "clean fill" which is usually crushed cement and soil from excavation projects that go on around the city. this stuff is dirt cheap (pun intended). you can buy & transport some to your house. also the landfill will often give free compose soil for gardens. in my city you can pick up as much as you can load into your trailer.. more than enough to fill a cistern.


Lefte 05-14-2011 11:02 PM

The cistern has no drainage going into it, other than what seeps in through the ground.

Like the fill with dirt cheep dirt. : )


AllanJ 05-15-2011 08:12 PM

A cistern has no drainage out the bottom so the fill material will become water soaked and stay that way. Whether or not that is bad I don't know except that shrubs plant4ed over the cistern can have their roots waterlogged which is not good for them.

hayewe farm 05-15-2011 09:06 PM

Filling with dirt will also take anywhere from 4 to 10 years to settle.

SteelToes 05-16-2011 11:32 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Why fill it... keep it the way it is.

I've got a summer home in Croatia and a cistern right in front of it.

We decided to keep ours because of the garden and because was in such a good condition, no leaks what so ever :eek: after so many years ...i think it was built like 80+ years ago...

We placed random stone tiles right over the top and replaced a lid with a piece of the concrete pipe.

It looks really good after we veenered it with the stone...looks like a stone well.
On my next visit i want to build a small roof over it ....similar to the attached picture.

Allison1888 05-16-2011 12:47 PM

I also would keep it--seems like way too much work to fill it in. I'm assuming you don't have any water issues that it is solving, but still....I like the idea of incorporating it into your outdoor design in some creative way.

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