Friday, 23 April 2010

Septic tanks in France

If you are thinking of moving to Brittany, you are likely to buy a house with a septic tank (fosse septique or toutes-eaux). Mains have not reached most of rural villages yet!

All you need to know about septic tanks:

Use cleaning products special for septic tanks ‘sans danger pour les fosses septiques’. You can easily find them in French supermarkets.

Don’t flush anything into the system apart from toilet paper (no nappies, tampons, bleach, etc).

Don’t drive over the drainage system

Don’t plant trees or shrubs on the drainage system as the roots could block it.

Put some biological activator on a regular basis (Eparcyl is a good one. You will find it in any supermarkets or drogueries in France amongst cleaning products). The one I use is special for holiday homes. Although I live in France all year round, I only have to use it twice a year rather than once a week or once a month.

If you look after your septic tank, it will be ‘healthy’. It should not smell.

It is advisable to have the septic tank emptied every 5 years. Look in the yellow pages ( under vidangeur. The vidangeur will ask you how far he will be able to approach the tank with his lorry so measure before calling him! Ensure also the access point is uncovered when he comes.

Depending on the size of the septic tank and how many meters of pipes are required, it will cost you around €100-€150. Local farmers used to empty septic tanks but they are not allowed anymore!

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