We are looking at moving and are viewing a 1950’s house which has a fosse septique. Until now we have been on mains drainage so my knowledge of a fosse is very limited. Can anyone offer advice on what to look for in the installation, what’s good and bad? How on earth do they work and do they need emptying?
I seem to remember reading that rules change all the time and if you buy a property the fosse has to be updated. Am I right or is that another senior moment?
You need to ask to see any paperwork pertaining to the fosse We have just had a fosse installed and the installation was inspected by SPANC and we were told they would not need to come out for 10 years now. I understand this was because it is new and we have a 10 year guarantee. I think that after the 10 years it will need to be inspected about every 4 years ( you have to pay for the inspection) and if SPANC is not happy you will be told what needs to be done. We were told our fosse probably won’t need emptying for 5 years but the people who installed it are coming back to service it in about a year’s time and depending on what they find they should give us a better idea of how long before it needs to be emptied. We just have to be careful now to use fosse compatible soaps etc.
I f the fosse at the house you are looking at complies with the current regulations the owners should have paperwork to prove this.
absolutely essential and no triple layered “comfy” toilet paper either… only the stuff that is marked as suitable for fosses as it contains no plastic (100% ouate de cellulose) which disintegrates easily in water suitable for fosses septiques and broyeurs.
We use Labell le moelleux (Intermarché own brand). Make sure guests don’t bring their own “comfort” stuff because there is a risk it will gum up the works. No baby wipes etc etc and you should be fine.
If it neds replacing, don’t be tempted by the cheaper plastic type. Go for concrete which is more durable or as @Peter_Bird suggests, a new micro station d’epuration. Either way SPANC (aka spank my wallet) will be the final arbiter in what is acceptable in your location and may be subject to ground soil tests to determine (which you pay for).
Even though the fosse may not need inspection for 10 years, you will still pay an annual tax to SPANC (backed by Government legislation) which, in theory at least, is supposed to ease the whole life cost of inspections.
We have a fosse and when we bought the place in 2015 SPANC had one observation (due to standards changing, as mentioned above). It just involved the vent pipe being put up the side of the house instead of a pipe sticking up in the garden on top of the tank.
We have not had an inspection every four years but were told we will know when its full and needs emptying
I have not seen an annual tax to SPANC - @graham, how do they collect it, Is is via the water supplier or something ?
We had a fosse put in about 25 years ago and it was checked probably 5 years back by SPANC. There was a recommendation for an extra vent but we didn’t do that. We had it emptied before the inspection but the emptying chap said it didn’t really need it.
If you only put suitable products down the drain and, preferably, feed it with something appropriate once every month or so, it may well never need emptying
(Eparcyl was what we were using to help reduce residues and it obviously worked! Now we are using a different sort of product available on-line which is supposed to work better …)
It’s an official tax bill - I’ll dig it out later and scan it in. We thought it was a mistake at first but asked the Mairie who confirmed its validity and the legislation to cover it.
ISTR its entitled assainissement - an overall contribution towards poor SPANCs expenses…
Other communes may collect the tax differently of course.
We bought this house 27 years ago and were told by the estate agent it would never need emptying. After about 15 years the toilet backed up and a rather dodgy plumber organised a farmer with his tractor and tank trailer to empty it. Not sure how legal that was and we paid about €200 I think.
Then I read that it should be emptied every 4 years so some years later we got an ‘official’ lorry to do the job. About the same cost but this time we got a certificate.
A couple of years ago we were worried because SPANC notified us of a visit. The man came, he saw (just a swift lift of the lid), he said ok and went away. All that worry for nothing. Till the next time.
Just to add to the reassurance. We’ve used fosse septics in three different houses. Never been a problem. I just make sure I buy cleaning fluids that are good for a fosse septic and NO bleach (javel). In our present house following the sale in 2012 we had it changed last year to bring it into the normes. Not had any problems before and we were a six person household Still no problems with the new one. Though I cross my fingers as I say that. Good luck and enjoy your new home
I don’t buy any either these days. White vinegar, bicarb, citric acid and washing soda (not all together ) seem to work in one combination or another for pretty well everything. In the “old days” washing soda was used for washing up and laundry and it’s brilliant for getting rid of caked/burned on grease…