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Are Reed beds allowed in France ?

As heading really.

We are looking for something to convert in Normandy (just like everyone else has - so we're only 30 years too late for a bargain), and I've read about the Fosse issues. But I havent seen anything about any green options - compost toilets, reed beds etc.

Are they just not allowed under the French rules ? Anyone point me to a suitable linky thing?


Rob R

It's got to be easier than in Yorkshire! Sad

Give Melvyn a call, he'll love to talk about the subject:

And I've just found this link (check page three out)-

cheers Rob.

Ive read some of your problems....

Prob in france is all the regs, seem to apply differently depending who you ask. But at 5000 for a suitable septic tank/micro works I think something natural for the same price ought to be prefered.

MarkS wrote:
Prob in france is all the regs, seem to apply differently depending who you ask.

It's no different here- if you actually read the regulations (be they EA, food hygiene etc., etc.) they are sometimes so vague in what is required that the officials all have different interpretations. Of course it works both ways, as you can interpret them how you think best & then present the officials with that.

Do you still need an answer to your question?
In France, people who are not connected to mains sewers come under the umbrella of SPANC (Service Public de l'Assainissement Non-Collectif) As to the legality of reed beds, et al, well that depends on your local Spanc. Reed beds are perfectly legal in that their resulting effect is the effective treatment of effluent; but you might need to convince them of the fact if they've had no previous experience of one. I know of someone nearby who has installed one with the full support of her local Spanc officer. She was also helped by an organisation called Eau Vivante who will come and do a site survey and draw up plans for your project aswell as give details of suppliers and provide you will any documentation you may need to convince the local bureaucrats.
I am installing a reed bed right now, just let them try and stop me!

As escapedchickens says, if you present your case well, with good paperwork etc, you should have no problems getting permission for a reed bed system.

Personally, I don't think that you can't get much more natural than a well placed septic tank used by people who treat it with respect.

You can also consider compost loos which are very popular in France because they're virtually uncheckable by the administration. (but ditto for the placement and the people bit.)

Both of the latter are cheaper and less invasive options and both use your water and compost to feed fruit trees, shrubs etc.

They're no use of course if re-use of clean water is essential.

Hello bit of a weird topic for a first post but here goes.

Though your fellow francophiles are far more knowledgable than me, I do know that in a village called Verdun en Lauragais where I wwoofed a couple of years ago there was a reed bed system to deal with the village water. Built and maintained by whichever official entity deals with such issues. Therefore presumably legal.

Clara x.

Welcome on board Clara

thanks for those updates. We're still looking so it is all still relevant.

I have come across people who have had problems with SPANC, but as you say it does seem to depend on who they talk to , are they having a good day, how much red they gave the inspector on arrival, etc,etc.

certainty ? whats that then ?
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