FAQ – Get answers to your most frequently asked questions:

1. How do microbes & bacteria multiply in my water tank?

They are able to split themselves in half. Depending on the temperature and the species this process can take as little as 20 minutes. (Leave milk in hot sun and it will sour and thicken. The smell is gas given off by bacteria. The thickening is caused by their huge numbers as they rapidly multiply).

2. I’ve been drinking tank water without a filter – why aren’t I sick?

Overtime one can build up a low level of immunity to some microbes. However because they do grow inside your tank if it isn’t regularly cleaned, you can get to a level where it becomes an enormous health hazard. People experience diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, cold sweats, dehydration and even death.

3. What are E.coli?

E-coliE.coli are a group of 120 or so bacteria. All are different. These bacteria are found in the gut of warm blooded mammals. They are fairly easy to test for and so are used as the indicator of possible fecal contamination. One particular E.coli (157) can cause death. This thrives in under-cooked hamburger meat.

E.coli can multiply in a water supply rich in nutrients, but when you remove the nutrients you remove E.coli.

4. What is Giardia?

Like E.coli Giardia are transmitted to water from the gut of warm blooded animals. However Giardia transform themselves into a cyst before leaving their warm home in the feces.

If they are washed into a water tank Giardia will settle on the tank base. If they are able to enter the human body through the drinking water then these microbes reactivate themselves and begin to cause health issues for the host.

Environmental Cistern Cleaning will purge Giardia from your water tank.

5. How do I know if my water tank is contaminated?

There are a number of tell tale signs. Your water may smell, appear discolored and or you may experience health issues. Even if you’re not sick right now all it takes is a minor change to the conditions within your water tank and the level of microbes can explode.

6. Isn’t Environmental Cistern Cleaning expensive?

Environmental Cistern Cleaning is a very cost effective method of cleaning your cistern or water tank with an annual per cleaning cost equating to pennies a day. Call for pricing in your area.

When Environmental Cistern Cleaning has completed the cistern cleaning, any water filters in a system often last for months without the need of replacement. The reason for this is simple: No longer is plant material sucked into the pump where it is ground into fine particles before being forced into the filter.

Having Environmental Cistern Cleaning clean your cistern means there is no need to add any chemicals to the household water supply.

7. How does Environmental Cistern Cleaning compare to other tank cleaning services?

Environmental Cistern Cleaning is the most effective system and environmentally perfect method of cleaning cisterns and water tanks on the market.

All other methods require removal of the water before cleaning, with subsequent use of chlorine or bleach being used to disinfect the tank. The chemical residue is then disposed onto your property, and then a new tank of water is required for replenishment. When the costs are added up it breaks down like this (example of a  2000 gallon cistern cleaning in Ccntral Vancouver Island):

CompareTraditional CleaningCleanCistern.ComSavings
Emptying Cistern (Water Value)$295Not required$295
Cleaning$400 – $600$395Up to $200
Refill$295Not required$295
Total Cost$990 – $1190$395Up to $790

8. What is a confined space? Is it ok to get inside my cistern?

Let’s hear it from the pro’s: what WorkSafeBC has to say about confined spaces. You may also want to check with your house insurance and see what they think.

We’ve been told by our insurance that in the event of a fatal accident, where confined space non-compliance occurred, legal and personal liability rests with the homeowner. Hiring a contractor who violates ‘confined space entry’ protocols classifies as an ‘illegal act’ thus voiding your insurance.

As we do not enter your cistern or violate any protocols, you can be safe in the knowledge that we are not putting the cleaning technician’s life & the home owner’s insurance at risk…

Please read this article from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) if you don’t believe entering a cistern could be fatal.

9. If I use first flush diverters, won’t these stop all the muck getting into the cistern?

First flush diverters fail for a number of reasons. Firstly, to flush a roof properly requires a minimum of 3mm rainfall (Sydney University study) and on a 200 sq. meter roof this requires 600 litres. First flush diverters simply do not have the capacity to be effective. And then who can afford to lose the volume of water required for a first flush each time it rains?

There is no doubt the most effective method of preventing bacterial colonies forming and along with them the micro-organisms that feed on the nutrients provided by the bacteria, is to suck water and bacteria from the tank base. E.coli die-off overnight without the nutrient flow from the bacteria. While some first flush devices assist in an improvement in water quality they do not cut the flow of bacteria to the tank floor.

10. Why doesn’t my water sparkle?

not sparkling water


With millions of minute animals down in your tank, all requiring oxygen, is it any wonder your water has lost its glisten? It is oxygen that puts sparkle in water, you’ll see this in the waves at the beach on a sunny day.



11. I am a tenant – what are my landlords obligations?

A landlord has to provide potable water for his/her tenants. Please read this bulletin from the Environmental Health Services (of Fraser Health) for full information.

12. Why does Health Canada recommend having our water cistern cleaned and disinfected every year?

There are good reasons why Health Canada recommends it – to protect your health! For more detailed information, please jump over to a page dedicated to that subject in more detail: “What’s The Big Deal“.

13. My kids and guests get sick every summer – why?

This in all probability will be caused through the low quality water. You are simply putting too many microbes into your stomach. This causes dysentery. Don’t take chances!

It’s True! …Even the best water will be contaminated in a dirty cistern.

Call the Experts to solve the problem: Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc.

Office: 250-247-9797
Email: info@cleancistern.com

We’ll put the sparkle back into your cistern once again.