What’s going on with the new regulations

There has been a lot of recent discussion and activity about new laws concerning fosses septiques – septic tanks on private properties. Here, we give the background to these changes. .

Today every Mairie must have in place the necessary controls over the properties within their commune regarding private (“non-collectif”) waste disposal. The onus has always been on the owner of the property to comply with the laws and now the pressure is on for the Mairie to ensure this has happened. These laws regarding the control of waste water (made law in 1992) on private properties without mains drainage are designed to meet environmental & pollution control standards.

New houses

If you are buying or building a new house the contractor will be aware of what is required because modern systems that comply with the law have been installed in new houses for some time now (but obviously you should check!).

Older houses

Perhaps more importantly for many people the laws apply to older houses and Mairies should have information about the specifications (depending on your house, land, type of system etc), what will be required, what surveys they are undertaking, what assistance might be available and so on. Before you carry out any work you will be asked to have a study, an étude de sol, carried out by a specialist in “assainisement” – this could cost around €500 but it will determine what system will work best for your property and that it will comply with the regulations.

If you are buying or selling a property that does not currently have mains drainage or a full septic tank system you should find that a study is required to form part of the final purchase contract. There have been quite a few recent property purchases being held up or disputed because of wrangling over septic tank liabilities – it can cost many thousands of euros to install a new system.

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