19th century farm cistern

Asked June 17, 2018, 7:29 PM EDT

I have what I believe to be a cistern associated with the farm that existed on my property long ago. It is about five feet across and six feet deep, lined with limestone. in the bottom, there appears to be an input from drain tiles, and an output line to the original home on the property. I would like to fill this in, but I am concerned about blocking flow on the inputs and/or making a sink hole as there is an output. Is there anyone that can provide some guidance? My township engineer, just said that it is on your property, you can do whatever you want.

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

Here in Missouri, we have a state government agency that regulates environmental issues. They set rules for many things, including the proper closing and plugging of wells and cisterns. Michigan has a similar agency. You should check with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for their recommendations. OFFICE OF DRINKING WATER & MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE – ENVIRONMENTAL ASSISTANCE CENTER 800-662-9278.

Their publication can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-wb-dwehs-wcu-plugabdwells_209016_7.pdf

Our rules in Missouri:

Cisterns Wells that are less than 10 feet deep and all cisterns are exempt from these rules and do not have specific plugging requirements. However, the Department recommends plugging these the same way a hand dug well would be plugged.
Hand-dug Wells Wells that were dug by hand usually are 3 to 6 feet in diameter and 10 to 30 feet deep. They are lined with material such as brick or fieldstone. To plug a hand dug well, carefully push in the upper 3 feet of the lining. Fill the well to within 3 feet of the surface with clean fill material. The remainder of the well should be filled with clay or clay-rich soil.