Microstation d'epuration

I have my ‘etude de sol’ booked for 13 October and am now seriously researching my options for the sewage/drainage. Previously I have always installed a conventional fosse but understand that microstations are now more generally approved of by ‘Spanc’ and the technology has advanced. i believe the costs are also considerably lower than in the past.

Does anybody have any personal experience of this type of drainage? If so can you please offer any advice/comment that may aid me in my decision.

Of course it may all depend on what course I am advised to take by the technicien on October 13. Another point of interest is that having bought an old farm for renovation I have a large hole which comprised the agricultural fosse (approx 25,000 litres) and I am wondering if it will be possible to utilize this in any way? Perhaps somebody has done so? Given that I will be obliged to empty it and fill it in it seems logical that if I can use it in a constructive way that will reduce costs.

I had a micro station installed last year. Everything seems to be working fine for the moment.
I paid about 9000€ all in.

Thank you for the input Peter. That is positive. I am planning to install the system myself and therefore hoping to get the whole project home for euros 5,000.

I wonder if you could use it as water storage? You’d then have never ending water for gardens. We also run our toilet flushes off rain water, it is amazing how much this uses, we emptied a 1000L tank in about 10 days!

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We have a micro station fitted about 8 years ago. Works well. The electrics get checked over once a year by the company that installed it together with a check that it’s working well and whether it needs emptying. Costs about 100€ for the inspection. Emptied once about 4 years ago.

Sounds good, you need to make sure it passes the inspection then you’re ok

There was a micro-station in our house when we bought in 2004, installed in 1998 with financial support from the Commune. However, it was considered to be only a pre-treatment system rather than a treatment system, and was deemed non-compliant at the first SPANC inspection in 2008. We were told to put a new one in and were given a list of approved contractors. Apparently, the type installed was not in conformity for a residence secondaire and was too close to a water course. Given that the use of a property can easily change from permanent to secondaire with each sale, and given that the watercourse was always there, it seems that the 1998 installation lacked proper consideration of all the possibilities. I argued the toss to no avail with the Mairie (who were very unhelpful) and SPANC, (who were always very polite and helpful - but unmoving). We are now selling and have adjusted the price to take account of the buyer’s need to put in a new micro-station. So what I would say to our original poster is to be very careful - make sure you get the right approvals at each stage (especially if you are doing it yourself).

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Thank you all for the comments and advice.

That is a good idea about using it for water storage Tory though as it has been a fosse for cows for several decades it would need a good pressure wash first and I’m not too keen on going down there myself. Nonetheless, food for thought.

I will most definitely follow the Spanc rules gentlemen although even that has proven to have its pitfalls. When we bought our previous house we were given the etude de sol by the notaire on the day of signing. We installed a conventional fosse with a run-off for the drainage at between three and four percent as per the study. During our residency our commune was officially moved into another aglommeration. When the time came to sell and the fosse was inspected we were told that within that regime the runoff must be at one percent. Fortunately the buyer was understanding and we agreed a discount on the sale price equivalent to what he would likely have to alter the drainage should he ever be obliged to.

We installed one a while ago, you might find some useful info here

Thank you James. It seems that owners are happy with this system and it is certainly to be considered. The downside would seem to be the cost of the unit and this is where a conventional fosse and epandage seems to swing back into favour.

Am I right in thinking it needs a pump? What happens in a power cut? A few years back we had power cuts round here that for some people lasted 10 days.

Well for those events you have a generator and diesel/gazole in the garage! France lets you live independently and this is something you need to get used to!

I believe this is why Spanc initially frowned upon them for ‘maison secondaires’ Sue, but I also believe you can find models nowadays that do not need electricity.
I am not an expert and either of the above could be challenged.

Microstations are not deemed suitable for secondaires because they need a constant supply of effluent so ok if you live near 10 or 11 downing street.


Who is the “you” in this sentence?
I’m merely reporting what I observed happen to neighbours of ours who were back in the UK for 2 weeks seeing relatives, so not even a maison secondaire. This coincided with one of the worst storms of recent years when huge damage was done across the Landes, Gironde and Lot-et-Garonne (what seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence) and houses around us were without power for days and no means of contact with telephone lines down and no internet.
So, I wonder whether such a system is always appropriate.


Some work without electricity

I’m not sure anything other than Mr Bazalgette’s system could cope with that much effluent!


I’ve no idea who Mr. Bazalgette is but I am appreciating the humour blended with the sound advice.

Aah…Joseph Bazalgette. One lives and learns which, after all, is the whole idea.

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He basically built London’s sewers in the 19th Century - still working today…

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