Thursday, 3 September 2009

Of things septic

Living in rural France sounds wonderful until you realise that things like regular rubbish collections and mains drainage are luxuries that you only get in the city! Country folk have to dig their own hole! In the past these were self constructed, rough and ready things with drains going nowhere and barely capable of coping with a couple of flushes. Many will be familiar with the smell of a poorly constructed French septic tank, and for that reason France has now some of the strictest requirements and regulations in Europe with regards to the provision and construction of such apparatus, requiring soil surveys and inspections and very large sums of money.

The installation of the septic tank involved the digging of a very large hole, in which was placed a large concrete tank. To prevent it floating away this then had to be filled with water (at a cost of 80 euros).




From the tank, a drain is dug leading to a pit 20 metres square. This will become our filter bed, consisting of layers of sand, gravel and sand to filter and clean the water from the tank. The run off from this, which should be clean, then has to be directed to a drain or ditch of some sort. The tank itself needs to be vented away from any buildings to avoid that nasty dead cabbage smell permeating the air!





After Warren has fitted all of this and got it working we have to get it approved and certified by something called the 'SPANC' or something that sounded very like that! All in all it is a big project and something we hope will be finished when we return in October.

5 comments:

Simon said...

It is SPANC! Every commune which doesn't have full main drainage has to link to a SPANC - Service Public d’Assainissement Non Collectif. In theory, they are inspecting all houses to ensure they meet standards. In practice, it will take many decades to achieve. As we have yet to find our fosse, and we are sure it doesn't meet the normes actuelles we're not wanting an early inspection! No idea where all the eaux usées go, but they do go, and there's no smell yet :-)

Your fosse looks impressive. I guess we shall have to have one like it sometime . . . .

Lovely's Blot said...

Put it off as long as you can and save up! Even with Warren at 200 euros a day including digger the cost was still well over 6000 euros!

Louise said...

6000 euros!! But it looks like a lovely job. I live on a lump of granite in Italy and so we put our new septic tank in the cellar with all our lovely French wine. Wondering where it flows out to is the stuff of nightmares....

Louise said...

PS I love the idea of SPANC. I wonder what they do to you if you don't pass the inspection...

Lovely's Blot said...

As far as I can tell the 'punishment' in France for not passing any inspection involves lots of forms and lots more euros.. and there are a lot of inspections! Our neighbours, who have an old house in the village, have a drain that just goes straight into the river!!