Installing a domestic wastewater treatment system

Keen, as I am on the latest and greatest technological advances, when I recently needed to upgrade my ageing septic tank I did a little research and came across an alternative.

Traditional domestic waste management systems in France generally require a filtration bed. This is typically a series of perforated pipes buried in a specific type of sand. The liquor that is treated by the anaerobic septic tank is then filtered through the sand. These systems are expensive and hugely disruptive to install due, in part, to the quantity of spoil that must be excavated.

An alternative aerobic type of system exists where the sand filtration bed is not typically necessary, resulting in significantly less disruption to you garden and a swifter installation. We did ours in just a few hours.

Take a look and the video and if you have any questions, ask them in the comments below and Andrew or myself can respond. Myself from a homeowners perspective and Andrew can handle the more technical questions or you can contact him directly, details below.

Andrew Barnes

Business Development Manager

Innov-eau Solutions

TĂ©l FR: (+33) 0608629507

TĂ©l FR: (+33) 0970468400

Tel GB: (+44) 07576080100

twitter @InnovEau



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Just installed the pump housing within the tank, much quieter and tidier like this.

You could employ a house s*itter


We use these draining tunnels after a microstation Conder, where infiltration is required by the Spanc, they are easy to fit and reduce the surface of a traditional Ă©pandage

Hi Guys,

WPL units are fully certified from 5 to 20 person capacity under Ministerial Argément number 2015 - 011 ext 1 à 3.

The 5 person unit was certified much before late 2015 but only the ones specifically made for the french market as they differ from the ones sold in the UK. I have one in my garden working perfectly and passed by SPANC with outfall directly in to roadside ditch.

Working with many different types of system in many different departments in Brittany and Lower Normandy we find that the rules change from spanc office to spanc office although there is a national standard - DTU 64.1 which should be worked to everywhere.

Finistere will not allow direct reject in to any form of watercourse, Il et Villaine is quite happy for this to happen with micro stations, Cotes d'armor - depends on the individual Spanc inspector etc etc - so although national rules exist they are all interpreted locally.

Always a good idea to talk to either a bureau d'etude or local Spanc before planning any form of installation so you do not waste your time.

Please note that if required, the area of infiltration bed required for a micro station is worked out using the assumed fluid output of the house, the infiltration capacity of the soil and the space available. It will never be as large as for a traditional epandage.

I wouldn't like to be too specific on exact dates when we were discussing the importation of WPL units and the actual date they got their certificate but I gather there were a lot of false starts despite the fact that the Germans who are known to be very meticulous about things like this had given their blessing and certified the WPL, it felt like protectionism on the part of the french. No leach field is required now as far as I know, we pulled out due to the non license able units for 2nd/holiday homes. But there were a couple of changes made internally to the WPL Diamond in order to get full certification. Not that it matters but a friend constructed as you did his own fosse and the price was just a little more due in part to an extra large area being required compared to WPL diamond unit at around ÂŁ5000 then

Yes Jonathan, it was about that time SPANC were making WPL jump through hoops and constantly moving the goal posts. However after much testing and re testing they finally gave it a certificate about 18months- 2years ago that it doesn't require the leech field soak away. Interestingly the people who were installing in france prior to that certificate shouldn't have been as the WPL diamond hadn't passed at that time. Interesting that your conventional system was 1/3 the price, the reason we got interested in the WPL Diamond was it was only a 1/3-1/2 of the price of a conventional system but took up far less space.

Thanks Andrew. I'm in touch with Martin and he is giving me a quote shortly.

Hello Sula

Martin Northway fits the Ecoflo systems, he is based at Quillan, Dept 11

Best regards


Thanks Tim, that's interesting. Have you worked with this system much? I've heard of ECOFLO but not Clearfox. Do you (or anyone else on here) have any experience of the reliability of the Clearfox system? No filter replacement sounds good!

I have also had recommended to me the Compact'O ST and ST2, the Stoc Oxyfiltre 5 and the Eparco Zeolite. Do you have any opinions of these?

Does your company work in my area (Aude)?

Thanks for pitching in!


there are grants available for installations though not for free unless there are reductions under the various headings See SPANC website In French as below

Aides financières

Les propriétaires qui font procéder aux travaux de réalisation ou de réhabilitation par des entreprises privées peuvent bénéficier :

  • des aides distribuĂ©es par l’Agence Nationale pour l’AmĂ©lioration de l’Habitat (ANAH), dès lors qu’ils en remplissent les conditions d’attribution ;
  • du taux rĂ©duit de TVA (10 %) sous condition ;
  • de prĂŞt auprès de la Caisse d’Allocation Familiale ou d’une caisse de retraite.

Pour en savoir plus, sur les travaux éligibles, les formes d’aides, les conditions et qui peut en bénéficier, consulter :

Les propriétaires qui souhaitent confier la réalisation ou la réhabilitation de leur installation d’assainissement non collectif à la collectivité s’acquittent des frais correspondant aux travaux effectués et tenant compte des éventuelles subventions versées à la collectivité :

  • par les agences de l’eau
  • par les conseils gĂ©nĂ©raux

Le remboursement de ces frais de travaux pour être étalé dans le temps. Pour en savoir plus : consultez votre commune ou groupement de commune.

Les propriétaires peuvent également bénéficier de l’éco-prêt à taux zéro, selon des conditions d’éligibilité, pour des travaux concernant la réhabilitation des dispositifs d’assainissement non collectif ne consommant pas d’énergie (loi de finances n° 2008-1425 du 27 décembre 2008).

Like every other Brit we've come across, we've jumped through this particular hoop: we went for the Neve Topaze T5, a very compact aerated system. But I'm curious as to what do people do if they're being forced to instal or upgrade and they don't have any money? These things aren't cheap and I haven't heard of the SPANC putting them in for free for poorer people.

There had never been a WC in our house when we got it: "bucket and chuck it" - and there are still a few of those in the area, and the residents have no intention of "upgrading".


If a holiday home - no system which needs a permenant electrical supply will be approved by SPANC.

You could try ECOFLO units by Premiertech or CLEARFOX by breizho / 00 33 2 96 44 46 47. There are others but the CLearfox does not require replacement filters at any stage.

Tim Bowman Armor Environnement - Designers of individual Drainage Solutions

Eparcyl? well that's a dried version of bacteria that gets working after a while but so would your excrement but there is a lag in the time it begins to get digested by the bacteria, so I guess that's why they are not sanctioned for holiday homes. By the time it gets working your switching it off and coming home again.

There's a reed filter system which is often used for village fosses Dont know if there are any restrictions on use for holiday homes

Can't you chuck down a few sachets of microbes to kick start the system when you arrive? I believe you can buy sachets in supermarkets or is that something different??

Rod when we were looking to import WPL diamond units into France all looked good but the Sante/SPANC would not pass them for part time occupied properties.

Not all of the units require a power/air source, Biorock for instance do not but they need a constant supply of fresh "food" otherwise microbe activity dies back when not used and would take some time to get going again when you suddenly turn up and and fill it back up again which would quickly create a nasty mess.

I was under the impression that they were , but you had to have an electric supply that was constantly left on to allow the system to operate .

Thanks John, I suspected that was the case. Back to the drawing board then. Any suggestions for suitable alternatives very welcome!