Daughter and I started cleaning worst half of the cistern today. This side is where the water goes in from the gutters, and acts as a settling chamber. She went down the hole and I was the gofer. I fetched a ladder, shovel, wet/dry vac, a second vac to blow air into her air supply hood, batteries, flashlights, a Coleman flourescent lantern and hook to hang it on the ladder, extension cords, buckets, rope with a snap on the end for hoisting buckets of water and crud, stiff floor broom for scrubbing, garden hose, and a blower with a 4" hose to supply more air. Being a good gofer is a real job!
She started by shovelling crud/water/slime into a bucket, then used a dust pan to get more of it, and sucked out the leavings with the shop vac. I got to hoist out the buckets of stuff. After a while in the air hood, she decided the blower was plenty good enough, and the air was clean, so the hood came off. We ran the blower all day. The vac got it near dry in there, but it was still dirty, so she sprayed it all down with the garden hose, scrubbed with the industrial floor broom (4" stiff plastic bristles), and vacuumed it out again.
Most of what we got out was black grit from the old shingle roof (white painted metal now) and probably decayed leaves and twigs, rotted down to a black slime. Got pretty much all of that out today, and cement now looks almost clean, although stained. Tomorrow, she is going to bring their pressure washer, and hit it again--wash it all with high pressure water, and vac it out again. Have to turn down the pressure to keep it safe for such a small area (8 ft. high x 8ft. x 12 ft.). The partition "filter" wall looks good, but could benefit from pressure washing.
We plan to use UGL DRYLOCK "Fast Plug" hydraulic cement to seal it inside. I've never used it before, but the guy who will do that has used it to seal a spillway tube from a lake, among other things, so I'm depending on his expertise. UGL Co. says it will cover 75 to 100 sq. ft./10 lb. bucket. I have 4 buckets of it, but should get more before we start, since we need to cover 320 sq, ft. in THIS half of the cistern, and the other half will also get the treatment. This stuff sets up in 3 to 5 MINUTES, so there is bound to be some waste. I have in mind to use a stiff brush to apply it to the walls. Hope that works! I can't tell where the leaks are, so we are going to coat it all with this stuff.
This is my first experience with a cistern so I can use all the help I can get! Any experts out there?
I'm concerned about getting it clean enough for the hydraulic ement to stick.
We started this water collection thing a couple years ago by replacing the shingle roof with new white painted metal. Also put up new gutters, but there is some downspout work to do with that yet. Then we got the big Maple tree in the front yard cut down, since it had roots damaged in a highway rebuild, and made it a real pain to keep the gutters clean. No more of that now. I have a hand pump ready to go in when the cistern is finished.
Early this morning, I hauled straw to the garden with the wheelbarrow, and DD and wife scattered it to mulch most of what needed it. I still need to dust for potato beetles tonight. There is a lot more, but it will have to wait. Got a couple rush jobs in the shop to work on yet tonight, too. Maybe in a day or so I' can get to weeding the potatoes and corn, and clean the hen house. I got one wheelbarrow load out of the hen house last night before the sky turned black and we had a down pour of rain.
Local fix-it guy..