The City of Sedalia has announced a new program that will allow property owners to fill old and abandoned cisterns at no cost to the property owner.  

According to a news release, the city has been receiving calls from residents concerned about exposed holes in their or neighboring lots which could pose a safety hazard to children or pets. 

A majority of the holes have been identified as being formed by settlement or the loss of a cap or top from old and abandoned cisterns, according to the release. 

Cisterns are underground storage pits used for storage with rock, brick, or concrete linings that were found around homes. Many older homes and lots have the remains of these cisterns which were abandoned and not filled. 

According to the release, over time deteriorations in the structure or ground settlement can cause fissures, cracks and holes to form, resulting in the failure of the cistern top or collapse of the sidewalls. Cisterns’ depths range from 4 to 30 feet and there is the potential for the pits or tanks to be fully or partially filled with water. 

The release stated it is “essential” for the cisterns to be “properly abandoned” through proper filling. Many new homeowners may be unaware their property contains an abandoned cistern until they discover a hole in a yard allowing them to see down into the underground pit or tank. When cisterns are no longer used, the city has a program to fill the cistern with rock at no cost to the property owner to keep the cistern from becoming a safety hazard. 

Residents are encouraged to walk their property to see if there might be a cistern that could be filled and to then contact the Public Works Department to arrange for the filling. 

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 660-827-3000 ext. 1166. 

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