Letter from Acquas re fosse

My mind is put at ease. Once again thank you for your help and kindness. I hope I can return the gesture. Kind regards

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You have a good answer. This is going on all over France now, and any houses out in the country will have to add a second fosse septic eventually, even if your original system is perfectly fine. We recently sold our country house, and were given an estimate of between 5 and 8 thousand euros to do that work, thus we deducted it from our selling price for the buyers. I doubt that most people living in the countryside can afford this, though.

Only if it doesn’t conform to the new rules. I put a new FS in in 2001 and it conforms to the new law so no worries.

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Nancy… if the fosse conforms… there is no way that it would need to be replaced.

Sometimes rain water passes through an older fosse… nowadays that would need to be redirected… sometimes/often an older fosse would not have a grease-trap and this now needs to be in place…

All sorts of minor actions may or may-not be necessary…and each situation will be different.

One major problem is when the run-off contaminates the soil,. This may be due to misdirected pipework… or a too-small a fosse…

The old fosse, perfect in its day… will possibly now be of insufficient size to cope with modern-day laundry/bathroom/showers/toilets…

The modern quantities of waste water are often too great for the older fosse… and so the waste-water flows on, into the soil, without allowing the normal action/reaction of the fosse to play its important part at “cleaning” the water before it flows out… :upside_down_face::face_with_hand_over_mouth:

As I have said… every case is individual… :hugs:

Thank you for your kind offer to contact them for us. I can call them Monday and get a date arrange. You have beyond helpful Stella. Kind regards

I’m always pleased to help, if I can… :relaxed::relaxed:

Interesting thread. Our Fosse is small but it only takes the human waste. All the grey water, including rainwater runoff, goes straight into the stream at the bottom of the garden. When we had our visit, we were told this had to be replaced with a new 3000L Fosse & soak-away which involved removing a tree and would cost 10K, reduced to 4.5K with grants. I explained that, as a pensioner, this was out of the question. They gave me 4 years to do the work, which expired last November. I haven’t hear anything since but there is no way I can stump up 4.5K. However, I’ve since discovered that a micro-filter, (@ 4K), which is basically a very large box stuffed full of coconut fibre, can be placed between the house and the stream to effectively strain the grey water. When I mentioned this to the SPANC guy, this was rubbished - I have a sneaking suspicion he may have an arrangement with a local drainage contractor. I have heard of a neighbour who was informed that if he didn’t get it done, he’d be fined €140 pa. His attitude was, fine, that’s cheaper than finding 10K. I’ve also been advised that SPANC cannot actually force you to get the work done (how can they if you don’t have the money ?) In the meantime, my little Fosse Septique is doing what it’s supposed to do perfectly well and the stream at the bottom of the garden is bung full of fish.

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I honestly have no idea whether or not your SPANC guy is on the level.

I can only speak from my own experiences with SPANC over the past 20 years…( when I have been involved to help non-French speakers…)

During this time, I have found SPANC to be most helpful…

At first, I would check/talk through a SPANC report with my friends at the Mairie… and as my confidence in SPANC grew, I have referred to them less and less.

As you rightly say… if there is no money… then nothing can be paid. I think there might be help for low-income folk, but am not up to speed on that angle…

There is, indeed, a small reduction if your income is below a certain level. However it is a very SMALL reduction and, anyway, my income is higher than the cut-off. (Having said that, who knows where the exchange rate is going to go now ?). There does seem to be a perception in France that ex-pats are loaded. While some undoubtedly are, most aren’t. My daughters French ex-boyfriend was convinced that I was flush - after all, I run a BMW ? (2001 model E46). :-))

I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. However, ours had been checked for the last ten years, and we passed every time, never a problem. We had proper aeration and drainage. Now, suddenly, there is a new law, saying that we HAVE to have a second fosse septic, no matter what the situation, and supposedly everyone in France, with septic tanks, will. Since there were only 2 people occupying the house, there was no actual need for more, IMO. It took 3 years at least to require emptying it. Now that I think about it, we only needed to empty it 3 times in the 10 years we were there!
Now, I’m even more relieved that we’re living in town, and don’t have to think about it, anymore.

Wow… that sounds really tough…

Not heard the like around here… there will be revolution when/if it arrives.

Like you, I am relieved to no longer be relying on a fosse… we were on one for 27 years in UK… and started here with a “sort-of” fosse. Now on mains drainage… it comes at a cost, but worth every penny.

I agree with you on the expat perception. We were only able to get here due to extreme frugality throughout our whole lives. Save, save, save. To be honest, we not only have no desire whatsoever to return to the States, we wouldn’t be able to afford living there, anyway. Even the pension we’re receiving now would be considered poverty level, over there., whereas, here, we are spending less than we receive, without even trying. We have no debts, we eat out, we travel, we pay utilities, and habitation taxes, of course, and not being stingy with ourselves anymore. On another upside, we never owe income taxes, haha. I certainly don’t want to give the US so much as a dime!