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Current French Regulations

  • Regulations Relating To Water Treatment By January 1st 2012 is is expected that all sewage treatment systems that discharge effluent directly into ditches or watercourses will be illegal, unless they conform to the strict specifications of the European standard EN 12566-3 2005 for “Small waste water treatment systems for up to 50 PE”. Other regulations apply for sewage treatment systems that cater for more than exceeding 50 persons. The areas covered by EN 12566-3 are

  • Part 1: Pre-fabricated septic tanks – specifies the requirements and test methods for prefabricated septic tank units

  • Part 2: Soil infiltration systems – this CEN technical specification is a code of practice for in-situ constructed soil infiltration systems

  • Part 3: Packaged and/or site assembled domestic WWTP – this specifies the requirements and test methods used to evaluate packaged WWTP which are required to treat sewage to a predetermined standard;

  • Part 4: Septic tanks assembled in-situ from prefabricated kits. (in preparation)

  • Part 5: Pre-treated effluent filtration systems

  • Part 6: Prefabricated treatment unit used for septic tank effluent (in preparation)

Part 7: Prefabricated tertiary treatment unit (in preparation)



As such, many of the existing “fosse septics” or sewage treatment plants that have not been updated will become illegal, and owners of properties where these systems exist, will be required to bring their systems in line with this standard. Additionally, in France the amendment to part 3 of EN 12566-3 2005 known as A1:2009 (it has been amended in 2009) is usually applied, meaning that sewage treatment systems will only be legal if they are confirmed as having met the requirements for EN 12566-3 2005 and undergone a superior test.

Sewage Treatment Regulations


Regulation Relating To French septic tank systems (fosse septiques)


  Following the change in law of 1992, many communes across France created their own professional body to ensure compliance with the law, known commonly as Service Public d’Assainissement Non Collectif (SPANC). It is this body which is now responsible for assessing the effectiveness of individual sewage treatment systems. In areas where SPANC do not operate the assessment is done by the Mairie or the Communaté De Communes. For existing fosse septics, a SPANC technician can assess the current drainage system to verify the following



  • Exact location of your current Fosse and Grease Trap

  • Volume

  • Condition

  • Access points

  • Ventilation

  • Sludge and scum levels

  • Condition of the pipe work

  • Filtration system

  • Nature of the surrounding soil

  • Lay of the land


Proximity to any water sources, below or above ground and issue a report outlining any problems with the system, and any work necessary to correct it. When installing a new sewage treatment system, or when upgrading an existing one, the appropriate permission must be sought from SPANC or other assessing body, the application form for which (Demande d’Installation d’un Dispositif d’Assainissement Non Collectif) can be obtained from your local Mairie. From 1 January 2011, it is a legal requirement to include in the legal package required when selling a house, a fosse conformity certificate. Once again this must be issued by SPANC or other assessing body. The certificate assesses conformity to prevailing laws, and for those fosses that fail the inspection, a maximum of 12 months is given to rectify any issues or defects noted.




 Sewage treatment specialists

Fosse Septique 23

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