ferro-cement cisterns

Tom Matthews k295tm at unix.tamu.edu
Mon Sep 28 11:20:33 EDT 1998

At 06:22 PM 9/26/98 -0400, you wrote:
>In Texas, we purchased materials for two 6,000+ gallon ferro-cement cistern
>for under $700 per tank (labor was provided with workshop participants).
>The walls were about 2-1/2 inches thick, and both Mollison and Alan Savory
>assured me they were being built thinner in Australia and South Africa. 

Thanks for the information about cisterns. I have a cabin in the mountains
in Northern New Mexico which has no water system yet. I would like to try to
catch rainwater instead of drilling a well so your detailed description of
cistern building should be very helpful. 

After reading your specs on cistern building, I have a couple of questions.
I hope you can help me with them.

I'm not familiar with the term ferro-cement. When you talk about
ferro-cement, are you talking about regular cement that contains rebar or
remesh? Are you talking about pure cement as opposed to conrete which I
think of as having rocks and cement?

You described the use of rebar and remesh in the cistern. I assume you are
using some forms to build your cistern walls. Is that correct?

Do you treat the cement walls with anything to make it less toxic to humans
or fish?

Finally, I was wondering what a person does about snow when using a
rainwater catchment system? Do you have to use a special guttering system
that will hold up under heavy snow loads? If the snow melts and you catch
the water, are there special problems associated with the debris in the
melted snow water?

I have viewed the video on rainwater catchment systems in the Austin area.
It had much useful information but it seemed to be oriented toward the use
of expensive fiberglass tanks, and it said nothing about catching rainwater
in areas with snow. What other sources are avaialble for information on this

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Tom Matthews 



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