The things that the weather brings about! We’re far enough south in France to really benefit from weather that’s clearly not Northern European. We’d been enjoying outdoor evening meals from as early as March this year and come June we’d been hitting 30 degree days. It was lovely and with very little downside other than.. a slight pong! Work at easter time made sure that the fosse-septique was in good working order but it was clear that the final piece of the jigsaw needed some work. The original outflow pipe went to a soakaway that was visible from the surface and the lack of maintenance of the whole thing meant that the soakaway was blocked and not working. We had a small river of post-fosse treated water running down the lower end of the garden… and with a warm evening breeze from the south west.. it sometimes made outdoors dining a little unpleasant.
So, repairs were in order.
There are quite clear guidelines and design constraints on a drainfield here in France so we had no problem in understanding what was needed. The size of the drain-field is specced on how many bedrooms you have and a given number of linear meters of drains that are a specific volume and a minimum depth underneath the surface was required.
So, off to buy the bits, lay out the works and set-to with digging. We decided, somewhat foolishly to do it all by hand. This meant early morning starts and trying to avoid the peak of the daytime heat. In hindsight we’d have been much much better off by hiring a small digger… but in the end we managed it all manually. The whole area was plotted out, levels dug (a mtre deep in places) and set true with a laser pointer. Once we’d infilled the trenches with about 5m3of gravel it was time to actually lay the drain network. The 100mm pipes that you can just see in the centre trench have drain slots cut through them so that effectively the whole bed acts as a soakaway. It was gratifying to put the whole thing together and just see it work when given a ‘dry-run’ (wet-run?!) with tapwater.
I’ve installed a couple of inspection points and will dig them out and have a look after a year or so. The net effect now is that the post-fosse treated water goes into the land-drain that should see us right for the next decade or so. In the design of the layout of the land drain we’d positioned it and laid it now with the capability for the drain matrix to be extended. We can quite easily take the field up to well beyond what we’ll ever need in the house and I’m pleased that the design allows for the expansion of the network should it ever be necessary. All the relevant ‘T’ pieces are all ready installed in place – it’ll just be a case of getting the spade out again, or perhaps more likely… hiring a mini-digger