Fosse problems - a journey of discovery

Some of you may recall I posted topic on Fosse Problems to which many of you very kindly responded with helpful suggestions.

You may recall my anger at being told "installation non conforme" given it was a new installation signed off my Veolia who are now saying it does not meet the required standards.

I said I would tackle the problem and report back.

First I went see an advocat who basically told me that Veolia put a clause in their contract which says we are not responsible for the design. In other words we can tell you its OK one year, tell you its crap the next but we do not accept any responsibility for anything that we do or say.

So litigation was out.

Then I went to see a "Fosse expert" to find out what was wrong but who basically ended up saying go and talk to Veolia.

So he was no use at all.

Finally, I decided to take the document and put it through, line by bloody line, the Google translator facility.

Apart from the fact that I think I found some errors in the original French text and it does not deal with the various French special characters, actually it was quite good but makes some really horrendous mistakes. It managed to translate:

a) "au sein d'une installation" into something to do with breasts!!! I am all in favour of breasts at any time but not down my fosse!!

b) It translated "la colmater" into "the plug" rather than correctly "to plug it".

One key point was that the grease trap had a lot of fat in it and needed cleaning urgently and I must do this every 6 months. So on with my heavy duty water and acid proof gloves open the trap to discover that there is less fat there then one might find after washing up a few dishes after a "big fry up!"

So lessons:

All experts are not that much use

Translate the document first before making a decision

Go to any decent DIY store and you will find products that will "de-grease" the grease trap and add functionality to the fosse.

Somebody posted it was all a load of nonsense, I didn't really believe them, but essentially they were right.

The only experts I need are the supporters and followers of SFN!

Eparycil is essentially ultra-concentrated yoghurt...a bit like 'bio-diffida' for the system! Some literally swear by throwing in roadkill or dead rats, etc, to boost the system now and again..

Hi all

The real problem is the report is crap and I have wasted a lot of time finding out that was the real issue. The system needs cleaning, that is all.

I have not done what David Evans has done but now I know the issue putting in the right chemicals and having the fosse cleaned will deal with the issue.

At the next inspection, I will make sure it is all clean and etc so they will have nothing to complain about.

Thanks for the additional feedback though, it is very helpful as always


Not clear if this is a problem to do with selling a property, or that you're having problems with your Fosse?

We are due to have a system, installed only 8 years ago, tested prior to Compromis...everything since moving in nearly 6 years ago has been tickety-boo, and as we're uber careful of fats, treating every week with Eparycil, using only fosse-quality loo paper, have only showers rather than hot baths, don't put strain on the loos, rinse the volcanic rocks annually,etc etc ;) hope we hit no snaggs....but we have heard of systems installed only 4 years ago now not passing, so don't know what to expect...a money-making exercise all round?!

Go for it, I would simply send it to Antoine Frérot, président-directeur général de Veolia and make it LRAR, lettre recommandée avec avis de réception to ensure it will be dealt with (by a minion, but a senior one and he will need to be informed in case it all goes t*ts up).

in that you not have them by the short and curlies Peter?

I would get a neighbour to draft a letter to the effect embarrassing it would be for them if it got out that they effectively condemned their own system....and see how they respond. it would need to go to someone very high up but for maximum effect "copy in" all the minions as well.

Elle n'est pas adaptée aux circonstances is about as close as I know, in the negative, so: it is not fit for purpose. I guess it might be used in the positive, but that hardly seems to be pertinent in this case.

I think you are actually referring to European Consumer law, so yes, it does apply in France. The problem is using it here!

We all know that having rules in France is one thing - abiding by them is another.......

Is there not "a fit for purpose" element to french consumer law? If that were the case, as it is in England it would overule whatever they put in their small print. Before you all bark at me...I know I'm no longer in England. But checking out whether an expression like that exists in the french system may well be worth the effort?

Bon courage and all that...

Expert: an 'ex' is an hasbeen and a '(s)pert is a big drip under pressure. We prefer to deal with specialists!

Your trials and tribulations never end do the Peter? Fosse septique could come out as 'pit of despair' or 'bull nasty stuff' on Google translate and probably be correcter than anything thus far. Experts are thick on the ground but too few actually know a lot (if anything) so are best ignored, usually since they are... all together now:

Jobsworth, josbsworth; it’s more than my job’s worth.
I don’t care, rain or snow, whatever you want – the answer’s no!
I can keep you standing, for hours in the queue,
And if you don’t like, you know what you can do!