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What are the rules on foreign septic tanks in France?

Septic tanks are subject to official approval and regular inspections

Millions of homes use septic tanks throughout rural France Pic: Collette Worley / Shutterstock

Reader Question: We are looking to buy a second home in France which needs a new fosse (septic tank). Would a septic tank purchased in the UK conform?

The decision depends on the Service Public d’Assainissement Non Collectif (Spanc) covering your commune. 

Spancs keep a digital record, with photos of each fosse installation, and are also in charge of 

inspections, usually every 10 years, to make sure installations are working as  they should. 

All tanks must meet French standards and have a CE stamp.

We spoke to a Spanc manager in a rural area of France which has many second homes that are owned by foreigners. 

EU septic tank installations are accepted

The manager had seen a few installations of tanks from elsewhere in Europe, but none from the UK.

“Britain is no longer in the EU but I do not think it has moved far from EU rules on installing waste systems, so there is a possibility that a UK fosse would be acceptable,” she said.

“But it must be checked before it goes into the ground, and technical documents provided in French. Each inspector makes their own decision based on the individual house and garden layout.”

Read more: Explainer: the rules around septic tanks in rural France

She advised anyone thinking of importing a tank to contact their local Spanc before buying it, detailing its specifications, including internal drawings.

“But really it would be easier to buy from a French supplier,” she concluded.

Related articles 

How often must I empty my septic tank in France?

Do I need conformity certificate for septic tank to sell French home?

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