Locating a Septic tank

We have a septic tank, but can’t find it. It appears to be working but clearly we need to find it . Does anyone know if there are people who will come and find your septic tank so you can empty it.

Your local Mairie may have a plan showing where it is located.

Follow the vent pipe?

I could do that but it goes underground under the house. Fortunately it reappears just before entering the large round concrete platform with a heavy plug in the middle, even though now hidden in grass, so we have never had such a problem.

That being the case wouldn’t flushing the toilet with someone with good hearing listening in the garden, or failing that prod about with a strong sharp stick/rod? Don’t they all have heavy duty concrete lids like mine?

I dont know, ours didnt. I bought one of my labourers over who dug numerous holes and we never found any lid. I followed the vent pipe back to a can on its side (best description) to the foul entry pipe and vent connections on one end but no access anywhere else. We are on mains drainage now so just forget about the tank until it collaspes in on itself.

I don’t suppose there was a plan of the fosse, attached to your technical survey when you bought your house? We had a nice diagram provided as part of the survey, clearly done by SPANC, the relevant agency responsible. It clearly showed where the fosse was located, plus all the run-off pipes, inspection holes etc.

Worth checking, as I thought there was some obligation to have SPANC inspect fosses for compliance with the latest regulations, prior to sale. I might have misremembered…

You are right - SPANC report essential for sale and purchase of house.

The new law was introduced in 2012, we bought in 2008. It was a 2nd home then , now it’s our primary residence. Mairie has no idea, SPANC have visited they have no clue, last owner didn’t know either. I just wonder if there’s some trade that will locate it, we can’t be the only people in this position.

Not only that but (here in 86 at least) there is a compulsory 10-yearly inspection to ensure that everything is still up to spec.

Ask a neighbour. We had a similar problem with a small fosse when renovating a gite. Our nearest neighbour knew exactly where it was.

Many houses here in Burgundy have the fosse (well concrete box) directly under a toilet with a soak away pipe for the water. (This is how mine is) These were built maybe in the 50s and 60s when an extension was built to house the toilet and bath. The pipe work would generally be cast iron or reenforced concrete, Do you know anyone with a metal detector. Another thing to look out for is places in the garden / courtyard that are greener than the rest but that could equally be the soak away and or an old well.

Oh I forgot to mention the vent pipe may also be a drain pipe fixed into the roof gutter :grinning:

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Thanks , I’m in Burgundy also. Our place was extended in 1990 and we’re told there’s a fosse dating from then, we think we know where it is from the greener grass, but want to find someone who can excavate it and make it conform. S

I’m in Vézelay, if you live anywhere near I may know someone that can help, not sure he does septic tanks but he’d know someone that does.

I’m in La Chapelle-sous-Uchon, near Autun. I have contacted about 10 people so far and received one eye watering quote to replace the tank, which i can’t afford, so if you know anyone who can possibly help I would appreciate it.

We have had little success in locating ours. We had a visit from the company that empties tanks locally, he couldn’t find it so suggested we got a digger and took off the top layers of soil over quite a large area. We decided not too but then got a letter from SPANC saying they wanted to visit. When she arrived she checked the inspection tank which was clean and together we ambled around the garden looking for likely spots where it could be. However she also couldn’t find it. We then received a letter saying we could continue to use it but if we intended to sell the property it would have to be replaced because it wouldn’t meet present day standards. She told us to keep the letter safe as it would save us a lot of money. However unless a cheap system comes onto the market we know the cost is only going to get greater.

Or alternatively you deduct the cost of replacement from the agreed sale price? That was my MT’s advice when I told him we were replacing ours. I’d say that’s his plan rather than forking out now.

Anyone using the microsystems, a lot cheaper and less disruption than excavating a new complying septic field.?

Interestingly an online search suggests (for those still looking for their fosse!) that specialists use probes, flushed down the loo, which then emit radio signals to detect the missing fosse.

@Corona We’ve had a MicroStation Graf EasyOne installed last year, see link. Our clay geology and small garden size did not permit the installation of a classic, traditional fosse

Absolutely no complaints. One single regard is all that is visible, plus an attractive nou that is being planted up to receive the treated water. Minimal disturbance to garden/lawn when installing it, now completely grassed over. Seems effective and efficient…we have taken on an annual maintenance contract with manufacturers agents…so far so good re MicroStation.

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