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Dirty water flowing down gutter in the road

Hello everyone,
This is my first post; I’m looking for some advice, please.
We live in a rural hamlet of a dozen houses in Charente Maritime, with no mains sewage. Some of the neighbouring properties almost certainly have outdated fosse arrangements, meaning that water from washing machines and showers flows down the gutter in the street, past our garden gate. Occasionally ‘water’ from someone’s fosse also flows - with the accompanying odour. It all ends up in the stream which eventually ends up in the Charente.
My question is this: who is the (water?) authority I could contact about this? I had thought the danger to the water system would be the way to go, but I may well be wrong.
Grateful for any ideas. Thanks
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Re: Dirty water flowing down gutter in the road

Le Service Public d’Assainissement Non Collectif (SPANC)

Le SPANC est un service public local chargé de :

Conseiller et accompagner les particuliers dans la mise en place de leur installation d’assainissement non collectif ;
Contrôler les installations d’assainissement non collectif.
Comme pour l’assainissement collectif, ce service public fait l’objet d’une redevance qui en assure ainsi l’équilibre financier.

Is the organisation charged with inspecting people's systems. If they find one that could produce the type of problem you outline they award it a "black mark" as unfit for purpose. However, getting the person responsible to bring it up to standard, at considerable cost, is another matter. There is (or was) some financial assistance, but it still requires a personal effort on the part of the owner.

Hopefully you have already made your introductions to the Mayor of your commune, now is the time to go and have a friendly chat.

Welcome to Rural France!
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Re: Dirty water flowing down gutter in the road

Step 1. As far as possible clean out the gutter to direct water away from your place. It may not have been cleaned for a while and be blocking. This may be quite a big job necessitating going up the road.

Step 2. See the mayor, explain the problem, try to get commune to clean out as above. Find out who is on the village council, talk to them too. In my village they are very useful and informative.
Find out who owns the offending properties. Be careful here as it may be the mayor or one of his cronies which might cause problems or slowdowns.
Mention SPANC to the mayor to show you are not ignorant of avenues of approach. He may be able to help there.

Step 3. Contact SPANC yourself.

If the mayor thinks you are capable of causing a bit of a fuss he will move his a rse. Is it election year next year?

Dont give up. Rural France is like that; get them on your side, be seen around the commune, chat to people. It will work wonders.
Ticking over, just about.
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Re: Dirty water flowing down gutter in the road

I agree totally with what has already been suggested.

I was living in the Charente Maritime and had a neighbour who had a fosse, pas aux normes, and the effluent was killing our walnut trees.

Firstly, I contacted SPANC who came out to make an inspection (FOC), then I talked to a councillor (conveniently a friend of a friend) and he also came out.  Result!  The councillor wrote to the neighbour, requesting him to put in a conforming fosse.

We were in the process of selling the house and this was a bit of a sticking point but, literally at a stroke, the problem was solved and I smirked mightily as this was the original neighbour from hell!Big Smile [:D]

Apprendre une langue, c'est faire un voyage différent chaque jour.
from Fle pour les curieux
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