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  4. Septic tank – ‘Fosse Septique’

Septic tank – ‘Fosse Septique’

Please explain Septic Tanks / Fosse Septique

Many HL Holidays properties are deep in the countryside, and fairly isolated. The cost of providing mains drainage to these houses (as is common in most communities) is prohibitive, so waste water including that from bathrooms and kitchens is disposed of through a ‘fosse septique’ (In English, septic tank) 

This is a large underground vessel which holds several days worth of waste water, and the waste in the water is broken down by bacterial action, leaving a relatively harmless liquid which is usually piped to an underground soakaway a little way from the property.

Inevitably there are some materials that get into the system that  cannot be broken down, and some that the active bacteria cannot break down any further, so occasionally the underground chamber has to be pumped out to remove accumulated sludge. This is almost always done during the early months of the year to give the system time to settle again before the house is occupied for the summer months so Guests need not anticipate this happening during their stay.

How does this affect me as a Guest?

Management of the household is important in maintaining the function of the Fosse Septique, and Guests should follow a few simple rules to help.  A failure of the system during the season is expensive for Owners, and may cause unpleasant smells around the property for a short time after as the sytem re-adjusts.

If your house has a Fosse Septique you will see advisory notes in your property asking you:

  • To use only toilet roll approved for Fosse Septiques
  • To use only the cleaning materials provided, and to purchase the same Fosse Septique approved brands if necessary
  • Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES to use bleach (Eau de Javel) at the property as this will severly damage the bacterial action in the tank
  • Not to dispose of anything other than toilet paper down the toilet

Will I notice anything?

Most gardens will have either some humps in the ground, or there will be some inspection covers where the fosse septique is sited. There are normally no other signs, and nothing should adversly affect your enjoyment of the property: This system of waste disposal has been used for centuries, and designs are now very carefully regulated in France to ensure the absolute minimum effect on the environment.

What do I do if there are problems with the drains during my stay?

If you suspect or encounter dranage problems during your stay, please contact the Property Manager for advice.

Under NO circumstances must you use any chemical unblocking products.

This article is to help Guests and potential guests understand their chosen property more: For further information or discussion of your self catering holiday needs please contact HL Holidays 

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