What are the Common Issues with Cistern Tanks and How to Solve Them? - Newport Paper House


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What are the Common Issues with Cistern Tanks and How to Solve Them?


Cistern tanks are essential components in water storage systems, commonly used for collecting and storing rainwater or for ensuring a reliable water supply in areas with intermittent municipal water service. Despite their usefulness, cistern tanks can encounter various issues that can impact their functionality and efficiency. Understanding these common problems and knowing how to address them is crucial for maintaining a dependable water storage system. Here, we discuss some of the most frequent issues with cistern tanks and offer solutions to keep your system running smoothly.

1. Leaks and Cracks

One of the most common problems with cistern tanks is the development of leaks and cracks. These can occur due to several reasons, including aging, poor installation, or damage from environmental factors like ground movement or extreme temperatures. Leaks not only lead to water loss but can also cause structural damage to the surrounding area.


      Inspection and Maintenance: Regularly inspect the cistern tank for any signs of leaks or cracks. Small cracks can often be repaired with waterproof sealants designed for use in tanks.

      Professional Repair: For significant damage, it's best to consult a professional who can assess the extent of the issue and perform the necessary repairs. This may involve patching larger cracks with specialized materials or, in severe cases, replacing the tank.

      Preventive Measures: To prevent future leaks, ensure that the tank is installed on a stable, level base and that it is protected from direct exposure to extreme weather conditions.

2. Algae Growth

Algae growth inside a cistern tank can be a significant issue, particularly if the tank is exposed to sunlight. Algae can contaminate the water, making it unsafe for consumption and causing unpleasant odors.


      Shading: Ensure the cistern tank is placed in a shaded area or use a tank cover to block out sunlight, which inhibits algae growth.

      Cleaning: Regularly clean the tank to remove any algae buildup. This can be done by emptying the tank and scrubbing the interior with a brush and a mild bleach solution, followed by thorough rinsing.

      Chemical Treatment: Adding a safe algaecide specifically designed for water storage tanks can help control algae growth without harming the water quality.

3. Sediment Build-Up

Over time, sediment such as dirt, sand, and other debris can accumulate at the bottom of a cistern tank. This build-up can reduce the tank's capacity and clog the outlet pipes, leading to reduced water flow and potential damage to water-using appliances.


      Filtration Systems: Install a filtration system at the tank's inlet to trap debris before it enters the tank. Regularly clean or replace the filters to maintain their effectiveness.

      Regular Cleaning: Periodically empty the tank and clean the bottom to remove sediment. This may require using a vacuum designed for water tanks or manually scooping out the debris.

      Settling Tanks: Use a settling tank in conjunction with the cistern to allow sediment to settle out of the water before it reaches the main tank.

4. Inadequate Water Pressure

Inadequate water pressure from a cistern tank can be frustrating, making it difficult to use the stored water effectively for household or irrigation purposes.


      Pump Installation: Installing a booster pump can help increase the water pressure from the cistern tank, ensuring a steady and strong flow of water.

      Pressure Regulator: Use a pressure regulator to maintain a consistent water pressure, preventing damage to the plumbing system caused by excessive pressure fluctuations.

      Check Valves: Ensure that check valves are installed correctly and functioning to prevent backflow, which can reduce water pressure.

5. Contamination

Contamination of water in a cistern tank can occur due to various factors, including entry of pollutants, presence of bacteria, or introduction of chemicals. This can make the water unsafe for use and affect its taste and odor.


      Proper Sealing: Ensure the tank is properly sealed to prevent contaminants from entering. This includes securing all lids, covers, and connections.

      Water Treatment: Regularly treat the water with appropriate disinfectants, such as chlorine or UV purifiers, to kill bacteria and other pathogens.

      Regular Testing: Periodically test the water quality to ensure it meets safety standards. This can help identify any contamination issues early and allow for timely corrective action.

6. Overflow Problems

Overflowing cistern tanks can lead to water wastage and potential damage to the surrounding area. This often happens during heavy rains or if the tank's overflow system is not functioning correctly.


      Overflow Pipes: Install an adequate overflow pipe that can handle excess water efficiently. Ensure that the pipe is free from blockages and is directed to a suitable drainage area.

      Automatic Shutoff: Consider installing an automatic shutoff valve that stops the inflow of water once the tank reaches its full capacity.

      Regular Monitoring: Regularly monitor the water levels, especially during heavy rainfall, to prevent overflows.


Maintaining a cistern tank involves regular inspection, cleaning, and preventive measures to address common issues such as leaks, algae growth, sediment build-up, inadequate water pressure, contamination, and overflow problems. By understanding these challenges and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can ensure that your cistern tank operates efficiently and provides a reliable source of water. Proper maintenance not only extends the lifespan of the tank but also ensures the quality and safety of the stored water, making your water storage system both effective and sustainable.


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