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Cistern Water Supply Inspections

In many rural communities in Atlantic Canada, adequate groundwater or treated piped-in supplies of potable water are not available. For example, property around many coastal shoreline areas, such as Cow Bay and Peggys Cove, have little surficial material to allow for dug well construction or the drilled wells experience either iron and manganese, arsenic, uranium and saltwater problems. So as an option use of a cistern is a viable economic option. The collection of rainwater from the roofs of buildings may be the only or best alternative to supply household demands. This is especially true in other areas of the province where dug wells have an insufficient yield and drilled wells contain elevated levels of contaminants such as hardness, sulfates, or chlorides. A residential cistern system is approximately $10,000 to $15,000 if constructed at the time of laying the building foundation, about the same price as a drilled well with a treatment system or a large holding tank system, however, it requires treatment, yearly cleaning, and space for a storage compartment.

As each location and project differs in climate, water demands and physical characteristics, past experience has shown that an on-site evaluation of the property is a definite necessity. There are many factors which have to be observed and information obtained by an on-site visit identified by a detailed water supply survey.

In general, the amount of water that cistern systems can supply is dependent on several factors:

  • the amount of rainfall
  • the area collection surface (ie. roof size)
  • size of the storage tank