Friday, 25 January 2008

Unsavoury Dilemmas

When we bought our current house, we were aware that the septic tank was ancient, and not functioning very well. But we knew that the Government had decreed that all villages must implement mains drainage within a couple of years.

So we put up with it.

When the cement pipe from it started to crack, we asked our neighbour (the local builder) to look at it and quote to replace the whole system. He would not think of us spending money replacing it when mains drainage was due - so he patched it up for free.

When it started to need emptying every 18 months, we had a discussion with the assainissement company - who would not think of letting us waste our money replacing it when mains drainage was due. They analysed that it was still cheaper to have it emptied more frequently than pay to replace it.

When it started to need emptying every 12 months, we were recommended by everyone we talked to, that it was not worth having the system replaced since mains drainage was due.

When it started to need emptying every 10 months, the Mairie confirmed it was worth hanging in there because mains drainage was due....

Maybe you are starting to see a pattern?!

But WHEN will mains drainage be due?! We are despairing. Our ancient septic tank is getting worse and worse.

Chatting at various village parties over the recent holidays about such a salubrious topic (sewage removal options!) it started to dawn on us that several people in the village no longer had septic tanks - they had sanibroyeurs. These are toilets that chop up everything and send the waste down a standard bore pipe.

But we commented that surely the waste still had to go through some sort of treatment/tank - so how come they had got rid of their septic tanks?! After a little bit of persuasion, they explained that they send the waste straight into the drainage system .


Surely that was not right?!

Talking to one of our local councillors (who just happens to be our friend and neighbour) we are told that you do not need permission from the Mairie to install a sanibroyeur toilet. It seems that you would have originally been registered as having a septic tank - and no one comes round and checks that you still have one. Or indeed are still actually using one!

The general view appears to be - what the Mairie does not 'officially' know about, doesn't worry them!

So we have been spending a fortune having our tank emptied now every 10 months, putting expensive treatment down the pan every three days......when virtually no one else in the village bothers any more.

We started investigating a sanibroyeur. They are not cheap, but we calculate that it would soon pay for itself. However, we would have to move the position of the toilet, which in turn means repositioning the not a simple thing to take on.

Whilst investigating all our options over Christmas - guess what happened?! The septic tank stopped working properly - and needed emptying!!

What bad luck! What bad timing!

So we have had to fork out 222euros for that - before we had a chance of installing a new toilet!!

Oh well. We are now planning ahead for later this year - when hopefully we will have some money to pay for everything!!


Picture is of Richard 'helping' the man with the tanker - by pressing the appropriate buttons when instructed.

To visit our village, they have to remember to send the little old tanker because of the steep slope - and the driver has to remember to point it down hill or else a disaster ensues. I will not go into details - I am sure you can use your imagination!!

Afterwards they filled up with fresh water at the bassins in the centre of our village - with our permission. And in return, offered to clean out the outflow from our kitchen sink for free.

It seems that any water flowing in a village is 'owned' by the villagers themselves and no one else is allowed to come a get some water without permission! Did not know we are Water Rich Barons!!

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