Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Problem with the new Septic Tank - fat trap's "popped out" of the ground

When I was over holidaying (well plasterboarding actually) at our Brittany Gite in February I found to my surprise that one of the two fat traps on the new fosse septique we had installed in August 07 had risen out of the ground.

Talking to the neighbour later on that day I found that there'd been loads and loads of rain and that the nearby river had burst it's banks (fortunately there's a flood plain on the opposite fields away from our Gite so there was no danger of us flooding). With all the rain the ground had got waterlogged, and out of the ground like some proverbial phoenix the fat trap had risen.

When the new fosse was installed you have to have a fat trap between the kitchen and the fosse if there's a long run of pipework. We therefore had to have one for the house that we currently occupy and rent out, but given the distance we decided to also have one installed for the second kitchen in the 'future project' un-renovated half of the house.

The problem was (with hindsight of course) was that when the fat trap was installed no-one thought of filling it up with water. As the water table had risen, the fat trap (basically just a plastic box) had been pushed out of the ground.

I was quite worried that the pipework had got damaged in the process so called the builder up to ask if he could come over and take a look at it. He was pretty good about it and came over two days later and we found that fortunately none of the pipework was damaged, and it was a relatively simple matter of raking back the gravel, taking the fosse out, emptying the hole of water, re-digging it out a bit more, putting the fat trap and pipes back together in the hole, filling the fat trap up with water, then tidying the soil and gravel back together again.

All in all they were only over at the house repairing the fosse for just over an hour. I was a bit dismayed at the cost of the repairs though, not only was there the hourly charge for labour but there was a fairly substantial call out fee as well which he hadn't told me about in advance.

I could have argued I suppose that the problem was partly his fault (he never told me to fill the fat trap up with water), but at least everything is sorted and back to normal now so I just paid up.

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