I got hold of the inspector today, and he is over a month backlogged.
|Hidden rainwater cistern|
Well, the handyman, Billy, came out this morning and was going to see if he could rig up a pump for the rainwater cistern, since he looked into it and it didn't have floating dead birds or anything. He thought that if we dumped some bleach in it and let it air out until the chlorine had evaporated, then put a filter on the line we might be able to use the water to bathe in, if we were careful not to ingest it in any way.
|Well with lid|
This thing has a very very heavy handmade wooden lid with shingles on it. It had been too heavy for Billy and I to lift, so he had accessed the cistern by the other, smaller hole about 7 feet to one side of the very heavy lidded hole.
The neighbor told us that the lidded hole didn't cover the other side of the cistern, but instead it covered an old well. The three of us were able to get the lid off, and sure enough there was a deep, dark hole. Billy spent the day rigging up the pump and piping to bring the water into the house.
There was a pipe into the side of the well that lead to the basement, so that was great! The neighbor wasn't sure why the well had been abandoned. He thought it went dry a lot, though. However, we have had a very wet summer, so right now there is plenty of water. Billy put a couple of filters in the lines and told us to run the water into the tub until it looked fresh. We did, and the water ran stinky and sulphur smelling for a LOOONG TIME.
While we won't be drinking the water until the well gets tested, we feel OK using it for bathing. After Billy left, we all took very cold showers. They were frosty cold, but totally worth it to feel clean for the first time in almost a week. The hot water heater should be installed next week. I'm sure it will feel like we are in the lap of luxury when we can have a warm shower!