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How to Fix (or Fill) In-Ground Cisterns by James M. Smith In-ground cisterns still are used in some rural areas to supply water for washing and other household needs. In my years of running a building-supply center in one of these areas, I've picked up quite a few tips on cistern repair, which I'll summarize here. First, some important safety tips. Don't go down into an old cistern for a day or so after pumping it out. Due to the decreased pressure on the side walls, cisterns have been known to cave in soon after being emptied. And when you do go down inside, always have someone on top who can go for help in case of trouble. There