Snow Harvesting Anybody?

Snow Harvesting or Snow Armageddon…?

We know we weren’t hit as badly as some places in Europe (watch the entire episode here), but it made me wonder how one could capture all that precious white stuff and store for future use in summer when everything gets bone-dry. How about Snow Harvesting? May seem crazy now, but in a few months we may look back at this time with envy. If you do decide to collect the snow from the roof in your cistern, make sure it doesn’t bring in a lot of debris and dirt. If it has already brought it in, you can always contact us to book a cleaning … we are the folks that clean cisterns…


Case Study

How one Person’s Search for Cistern Cleaning led to her own Nirvana

Article by Geoffrey Montgomery-Swan

The challenge for Beth was not as simple as she first considered…getting the water cistern cleaned should be easy she thought…but then she remembered in the past she called up a local guy who came and emptied her cistern, climbed inside, put in a bunch of chemicals scrubbed around and a few hours later declared all was good and clean.

And this time she thought to herself with all the “green” way of doing things, there must be a better way of cleaning the water cistern. After all she mused, having to empty the cistern and chuck away all the water never really felt right to her…and then it also occurred to Beth that putting someone into a cistern with a rather small entry hole seemed a bit risky – what would happen she thought if he or she (Beth was an equal opportunity employer) couldn’t get out?

It also occurred to Beth by having someone clean her cistern the old way was not really in her or the Environments best interests.

Beth started doing the math… she reasoned her full cistern water value was about $250, then she added the cleaning cost of $395 – and this cost she reasoned may have increased since the last time it was cleaned a few years ago – after totaling all the costs together Beth also remembered she had to pay for a water refill…another $250…starting to get expensive she thought to herself.

A friend who worked in insurance gave her some advice which she remembered “never let anyone climb into the water cistern without all the safety protocols in place and this includes having a safety rig, breathing gear, oxygen testers for air quality, and at least 2 people…just in case of an emergency” her friend reminded her.

Beth was getting worried because as her insurance friend mentioned “if there was an accident without all these protocols in place, it is considered an “illegal act” and she would be personally liable to any survivors claims! Needless to say – this fact caught her attention!

“Oh”  the friend continued “if something like this happens, WorkSafeBC gets in on the act and an investigation starts, because remember you are the employer and need to have whomever you hire follow all the right WorkSafeBC conditions…if you don’t and the investigations discover a breach, you Beth would be liable, and the fines to the homeowner ‘hirer’ start at $25,000 and go up to as high as $500,000”.

Shaken, Beth was counting her lucky stars that nothing had happened in the past.

So Beth made a list of her priorities for which company she would choose.

For Beth it all started with Safety, Beth did not want any possible insurance issues should an accident occur, paralleling her thoughts she recalled there wouldn’t be a WorkSafeBC issue by not allowing the cleaner to go into the confined space of a cistern.

Beth started doing the dollar costs, between the existing water value and replacement and cleaning cost there was a $900 cost she could reduce…if she could find a company which could tick all the boxes… Environmentally conscious, no cistern entry, no chemicals used (Beth never liked tasting the taste of chlorine after the last time she had it cleaned) no costly water replacement, no insurance worries, and conforming to WorkSafeBC regulations all meant if she could find a company that could do the work she would feel great about employing them, and save a bundle in the process!

Time for Google!

Armed with her wish list Beth typed in “who does cistern cleaning”

Voilà – One name seemed to be everywhere: Environmental Cistern Cleaning. The reviews were all very positive; and she was in luck the company located in British Columbia was close by, and in reading their website it ticked all the boxes for Beth.

  • No water wastage
  • No chemicals or cleaning agents used
  • No emptying of cistern before cleaning
  • No interruption of service…Beth liked this! It meant she could go about her day and use her water even while her cistern was being cleaned

They even offered to disinfect the water cistern with Hydrogen Peroxide – Beth liked this because as a Nurse she was very familiar with Hydrogen Peroxide, being a contact sterilant no chance for nasty stuff like E-coli, Coliforms, Pathogens to ruin her day…and besides that rotten egg smell that seem to come into her house with the water would not be an issue any more…boy was Beth ever happy!

The final clincher was when she totaled the bill and it was under half what she paid before (That vacation seemed to be getting closer!)

Beth felt good again, Environmental Cistern Cleaning (CleanCistern.Com) really was the Environmental Solution to Cistern and Water Tank Cleaning.

She made the phone call 250-247-9797 booked her appointment and relaxed…

image of lady lying on beach with hat

RDN Rebates Program is back!

Up to $750 in rebates available for the purchase and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems…!

The Rebate Program from the Regional District of Nanaimo is happening again!

RDN logo large colourIf you own property in Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach or in one of the surrounding Electoral Areas from Cedar in the south to Deep Bay in the north and are planning on installing a rainwater harvesting system, testing your well, upgrade your wellhead or make some irrigation upgrades & soil improvements, you can qualify. Get your application in asap, as this program often fills up fast and funds are limited…

To get the complete details, please read this letter that professionals in the water sector just received this morning or go directly to

Never let your UV System boil dry!

Going away for a few days?

Did you know if you have a UV disinfection system and you are planning on spending on more than a couple of weeks away from your home, it is vitally important to do the following.

Unplug your ultraviolet system!

Here’s why…

When your UV system is operating the UV bulb generates heat, a lot of heat, but under normal conditions this heat is dissipated as water flows over the quartz sleeve and bulb in the reactor chamber (that’s the steel looking tube).

However, if water just sits in the UV reactor chamber with no water movement no heat dissipation occurs, this causes the water to get hotter and hotter, and slowly “boils” away creating an effect similar to letting a boiling kettle boil dry.

And the end result if this happens is the quartz sleeve and UV bulb calcify, creating a solid lump of glass in the reactor chamber and rendering the ultraviolet system useless and necessitating a several hundred dollar costly replacement of the reactor chamber, quartz sleeve and bulb!

So remember, just unplug your UV system before you leave for any extended length of time, but remember to plug your UV system back in on your return for continued coverage!

Giving Thanks @ Thanksgiving 2018

Image of Thanksgiving Table with water jug

By Bruce Mason – Article published in the Gabriola Sounder on the Thanksgiving weekend 2018

It’s harvest time, the celebration of reaping what we’ve sown. In our region, that includes the return and clean storage of rainwater.

For the experts at Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. (ECCI), this gratitude is day-to-day. And the unique business and service model is based on ongoing community engagement.

“We want to thank our expanding customer list – residential, industrial and commercial – for enthusiastic support,” says Geoffrey Montgomery-Swan.

He developed the exclusive AquaSave-Plus Cistern Cleaning System to provide: Environmental safety without chemical agents, an end to emptying or entering cisterns (illegal without major health/safety precautions), the technology and methodology for complete scrubbing and disinfecting, utilizing minimal water, in a short time period, with cost-saving by requiring no re-fill.

He reports: “Our growing client base includes: Canada Coast Guard, Parks Canada, RCMP, beverage companies, B&B’s, resorts and individuals from increasingly cistern-dependent communities. They’re sharing their gratitude in glowing 5-star reviews and testimonials (

“Frequently mentioned is superlative work by Kaman Somers, our cleaning technician, whose thirst for perfection really contributes to unparalleled client satisfaction” he adds.

ECCI takes pleasure in actively participating in giving back to the community, through fund-raisers, such as: The Salmon BBQ, Lions’ Concert on the Green, PHC, Cat’s Alive, from Preschool, to Elementary School and VIU, etc.

At years-end, Montgomery-Swan notes some features of 2018: thankful renters are advised that it’s a landlord’s responsibility to provide potable water, real estate buyers and sellers can win with the bonus of the ECCI process; and the worrisome roof debris from wood-fire smoke can be cleaned from your water cistern.

“In more than five years we’ve saved over 21 million litres of water being drawn from the Aquifers and never encountered a cistern that didn’t significantly benefit from an ECCI visit” reports Montgomery-Swan.

It’s also important that well-fed cisterns have build-ups of iron, manganese, clay/rock flour removed, and that U-V and other systems be cleaned to work efficiently and safely. Only when E Coli and Total Coliforms are physically removed and cisterns disinfected by ECCI can confidence, thankfully return.

Health Canada advises annual cistern cleaning. Celebrate Thanksgiving by contacting Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. Call 250-247-9797, email, online:

Bromate in drinking water guideline technical document

Bromate in drinking water is a problem. The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality document is now available from Health Canada. It’s an 82 page document, for those who wish to read through the technical details. If you’d like to get your water tested, you may refer to page about water sampling (bottom) and more Health Canada guidelines.

image of bromate guideline in drinking waterPublished on August 24, 2018 by Health Canada

Roof-To-Garden: How to Irrigate with Rainwater

roof to rain barrelThe average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day, a third for irrigation and other outdoor uses. Collecting the water flowing down your downspouts in rainstorms so you can use it to irrigate in dry periods is often touted as a simple way to cut back. But setting up a functional rainwater irrigation system—beyond the ubiquitous 55-gallon barrels under the downspout, which won’t irrigate much more than a flower bed or two—is a fairly complicated DIY project.

If you live in a townhouse or apartment with a tiny yard, one of those store-bought barrels will probably do the trick. In that case, there’s not much to know—most come with instructions and all the hardware you need. But if you’re planning a more ambitious project consider the following pointers before getting started. Before you begin, make sure that rain harvesting is legal in your area.

Calculating Your Water Budget

To give you an idea of how much water you have at your disposal for irrigation, here is a simple equation for figuring out how many gallons your roof sheds when it rains:

roof size (in square feet) X annual rainfall (in inches) X .6

There are rain tank calculators online so you don’t have to do the math, but here is an example. If you lived in a modest 20′ by 30′ house (measure roof size as the length times the width of the house) in a modestly wet region with 40 inches of annual rainfall, that’s (20 X 30) X 40 X .6 = 14,400 gallons.

Please click here to read the entire article “Roof-to-Garden: How to Irrigate with Rainwater” by Brian Barth from EcoWatch


Water: Think Globally, Act Locally

Water: Think Globally, Act Locally with Environmental Cistern Cleaning

By Bruce Mason
The world is awakening from a long sleep of water complacency; into awareness that, indeed: “Water is Life!” Dire signs and warnings are surfacing; we are now well into the Century of Water, (not Oil).

Much of this new normal is old news in rural areas, where water scarcity and quality has always been a reality and individual responsibility. Especially at this time of year, when the alarms have no snooze button and require immediate action. Where people are contacting Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. (ECCI) for solutions, including answers to the question: ‘What is the point of rationing dirty water?’

“For whatever reason – including being off-Island  – some homeowners didn’t shut down their water systems during a season with very high pollen counts,” reports Geoffrey Montgomery-Swan, co-owner of ECCI, who developed their unique technology and methodology. “Right now they are experiencing an odour that is much like a backed-up septic system. Our cleaning process removes the pollen and the resulting smell. However, there are other problems that aren’t as obvious, because when the tap is turned on, clean-looking water comes out,” he adds.

“If our water cisterns were made of see-through material such as glass, we would be shocked by the things that collect on roofs such as bird poop, airborne contaminants, pine needles, tree sap, general roof dirt and debris, including critters and other small animals which have worked their way into the cistern. There may also be build-ups of iron, manganese, clay/rock flour, and while it is essential to have the cisterns cleaned to remove these elements, UV and other systems need clean water passing through the system to work efficiently and safely. Only when E Coli and Total Coliforms are physically removed by Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. and the cistern is disinfected, confidence can return.”

This is the only region in the country where rain harvesting has been approved as a source of potable water and Health Canada recommends cistern cleaning and disinfecting annually. As in any harvest: we reap what we sow. And the size of the bounty is determined by ongoing care and attention from experienced hands. Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. (ECCI) has saved more than 20 million litres of water – the equivalent of 40 million half-litre bottles. Think of your cistern as the ultimate re-usable storage container that will beat anything else you can purchase and supply you with an ongoing source of water. For everything you need to know water-wise – including to book an appointment – visit

To view a pdf copy of what appeared in the July  2018 long weekend edition of the Gabriola Sounder click here.

B.C. Interior Health Launches Real-Time Water Advisory Map

British Columbia’s Interior Health (IH) has launched a real-time, interactive water advisory map, enabling people to search the entire IH region for current drinking water advisories. Users can also learn more about IH water suppliers, types of advisories, and the reasons for these advisories.

We are aware that this is only for the interior, but hopefully this service will expand to eventually include the Gulf Islands (and maybe even further). You can find all the details here on their website Drinking Water for Everyone.


GDPR Compliance

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and is a European Union (EU) law taking effect on May 25, 2018. The goal of GDPR is to give all EU citizens control over their personal data and change the data privacy approach of organizations across the world.

The main objective of GDPR is to protect user’s personal data (names, email, IP address, health records etc) and hold businesses to a higher standard when it comes to how they collect, store and use these data.

This post is to notify every visitor of our website that we have updated our website to comply with this law. Even though it is a law from the EU, it really affects businesses around the world. It is to make your personal data more protected. We at Environmental Cistern Cleaning are taking your data very seriously and decided to make this compliance a priority. Rest assured that your data is safe with us.

Chlorine is bad for you

Do you like the smell of chlorine? Me neither. But its not only the aweful smell, its what it can do to your health when exposed to it .

Now you may say: ok, I don’t drink water that has chlorine in it – I buy costly bottled water – so I am fine.

But how about your daily cleansing? I am sure you don’t haul water home for that shower or even bath… Well it looks like the water you use for your daily rituals can wrack even worse havoc!

But don’t listen to me, get the full story on why chlorine is so bad for you & what you can do about it here.

Pollen Alert…!

Pollen – the Bees just love it, but do we love it too?

Yes, it’s that time of year again. It may be great for the bees, but not for your water cistern. There is lot’s of pollen happening – see pollen report of today – and if you are collecting rainwater from a roof, you should disconnect your downspouts away from the cistern intake.

A good indicator that pollen is coming down is when you see that yellow powder on your car’s windshield. Nobody knows how long it will last, but it is usually a few days when it is worst & it can come back a few times during the spring.

If there is a strange smell coming from your cistern, you have pollen in your cistern. In that case, you may want to call us and schedule a cistern cleaning to get that stuff out.

Find more indicators that your cistern needs cleaning in our write-up: Tell-Tale Signs Your Cistern Needs Cleaning & the Health Consequences of not doing so! To print out that handy flyer click Tell-Tale-Signs.

64% of bottled water comes from a tap

image of bottled water

Image courtesy of Steven Depolo – Article Courtesy of Sami Grover, for Treehugger

It also costs 2,000 times more.

As Glastonbury Festival bans plastic bottles, and as communities around the world promote refill stations and water fountains over bottled water, it’s worth revisiting an oft-forgotten fact about bottled water:

Most of it is literally the same water we get out of our faucets anyway.

To read full article, please go to this link.



Hydrogen Peroxide – many amazing uses and benefits

60 hydrogen peroxide uses and benefits


Joan Clark, editor at Tipsbulletin, emailed me and asked if I would add a link on our website to her recent post about hydrogen peroxide:

60+ Amazing Hydrogen Peroxide Uses and Benefits

Of course – it’s a pleasure! In fact we appreciate every effort in getting the good word out about hydrogen peroxide. I wish people would stop using chlorine and bleach. Chlorine is carcinogenic and only makes matters worse. It is banned in Europe…

Joan mentions Water Sanitation under No. 59 in her article as an excellent way to treat well water. But it is not only good to treat well water. Water that is being collected on roofs, most commonly known as rainwater harvesting, also benefits tremendously if treated with H2O2.

Hydrogen Peroxide for disinfection

Environmental Cistern Cleaning Inc. uses Hydrogen Peroxide to disinfect cisterns – another point that Joan could add to her impressive list. Those cistern may contain well water, water collected via rainwater harvesting or even delivered water. Dirt gets everywhere, even into the trucks that deliver the water (that we happen to clean as well).

What not to do with H2O2

One piece of advise when using HP: be extremely careful – especially when using higher grades like the food-grade  peroxide. You need to wear eye protection and gloves. If you happen to get it on your skin, it can burn a whole in it!

Environmental Cistern Cleaning

We welcome you to contact us for more information
about any of our products or services.