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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 25, 2013 10:57 AM CST
When I was growing up my dad built a cistern because we had sulphur water and it turned all the clothes dingy so we used the rain water for the washing machine. I would like to build or buy a cistern to supplement my rain barrels when we have drought conditions. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jul 26, 2013 4:37 PM CST
My Grandma had one to supplement the well on her farm. The pump for the well was electric and if the power went off you could not use any of the taps in the house.
I found some info for you on a variety of sizes and uses.

http://www.earthsystemsnw.com/cisternsfaq.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/th...

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae029

This pdf may be the most informative as it covers the Georgia Rainwater Collection Guidelines for the State of Georgia

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/pdf/GARainWaterGdlns_04...
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 26, 2013 7:03 PM CST
Great information. Thanks. I was wondring if anyone at ATP has a cistern they are actively using now?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jul 27, 2013 10:40 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I am currently in the process of designing a greenhouse, and that design is incorporating a cistern placed directly underneath the greenhouse. I'll be studying more on the subject and hope to share what I have learned when I'm done. Moonhowl's links are excellent starting points.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jul 27, 2013 10:57 AM CST
Thanks Dave. You may have this info already, but never hurts to be sure.

http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/rainwaterha...

I also found it interesting that Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment.

http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/env-res/rainwater-harves...
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jul 27, 2013 11:27 AM CST
I will be very interested in what you come up with, Dave. We get a massive amount of run-off from our barn roof and I would love to find a way to capture it. Not only would it be a wonderful source of soft water, but it would help keep the loafing area from getting soaked!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 27, 2013 12:45 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

[quote="Moonhowl"]Thanks Dave. You may have this info already, but never hurts to be sure.

http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/rainwaterha...

I also found it interesting that Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment.

]http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/env-res/rainwater-harves...

I had that first one. The second was something I didn't know. It's nice to know that I won't have to pay the sales tax for all the rainwater catching equipment, presumably including the cistern.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Jul 27, 2013 1:31 PM CST
A long time ago we had a cistern. It was glass lined cinder block. Our water was so awful that we used the cistern for everything except the toilets. Even had it tested and it was AOK to drink
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 27, 2013 1:34 PM CST
Dave, I will be curious to hear how you make out. The above ground water collectors interest me since it would probably be more economical than excavating but I will have to investigate this more. At one time I thought I could just buy a concrete tank to bury and use with a pump but I never checked into it further so keep us posted on how/what you do.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jul 30, 2013 7:03 PM CST
I once read about heat-retaining greenhouse design where the floor was two-level and excavated underground 12" to 18" if I recall.

The bottom level was like a wading pool but not very deep. It was intended to hold only enough water to be a thermal mass for absorbing heat during the day, and releasing it at night. There were pipes and a circulating pump, going through radiators or black 55 gallon drums.

The bottom level was made like the basement foundation of a house: poured waterproof concrete. The walls around the floor were 9-12" deep if I recall. I think the foundation walls were also poured concrete. Being below-ground probably helped give them strength against the weight of the water. Even so, I question whether cinder-block construction would be strong enough or water-tight enough.

Pretty shallow for a cistern!

There were also concrete footings of some kind to support the floor panels.

Then some kind of flooring was laid on top of the foundation and footings - poured concrete slabs? Wood or something else painted to resist humidity? The authors wanted a pretty tight seal so that warm water wouldn't fill the greenhouse with condensing fog all night.

The water kept the floor warm all night. During extra-cold snaps, the pump would circulate warm water through the radiators or the 55 gallon drums along the North wall.

In Texas, with a lot of shade, maybe the water could keep some plants cooler during the summer?

The New Alchemy Institute put very large fish tanks into small greenhouses, and grew tilapia.


Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Jul 30, 2013 7:09 PM CST
Very interesting. It would be nice if there was some way to combine a cistern and passive solar...
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Jul 30, 2013 7:10 PM CST
And I still have a dirt floor in my greenhouse so there are possibilities, even if for just part of it! Hilarious!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 30, 2013 7:19 PM CST
>> some way to combine a cistern and passive solar...

Maybe a very small windmill or hand-pump to move cold water up from the cistern into 55 gallon drums stacked along the North wall. Then a valve that slows down the water trickling back down through a radiator serving to absorb heat from sunlight.

Mostly rely on "heat rises" to transfer warmth up from the water to the plants at night.

However, it is a fairly huge engineering project! And you would wnat the drums and all piping to be clean enough that you can pump the water to the plants during the dry season.

I saw another greenhouse design where the floor was concrete poured around 6" or larger PVC pipes laid in a serpentine or mesh pattern. .They would hold a moderate amount of water (and heat energy), but also served as a circulating fluid through heat-absorbing or -releasing radiators. I think that also relied on an intermittent pump.
[Last edited by RickCorey - Jul 30, 2013 7:25 PM (+)]
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