Sunday 28 November 2010

Digging holes!

We dug a few holes over the summer: we needed a driveway -- there was just a grass track, and a couple of soakaways. We also wanted a terrace.  All this happened in July just before we moved in properly on the 1st of August and resulted in about 5 cubic meters of spoil: calcaire and clay. The soil has just about settled from those upheavals....

Digging terrace in July
and... now we're at it again, this time for something very necessary but totally un-glamourous--a fosse septique (waste system). Although we're only 1.2 km from the centre of the village we are out in the country and therefore not on mains drainage. Up to now we've been 'making do' with the small 'fosse etanche' (tank) which needs to be emptied with boring frequency and does not meet current standards.

It has taken a while to get to the digging holes stage. As ever, things like planning permission and an 'etude' (a report/study of what is needed and how & where to install it) by the relevant body is required. Then another organisation sends someone to inspect the terraine once more--checking the findings of the etude and approving it; including making sure our filter bed is at least 35 m away from the communal well which used to serve the hameau. Once all of this is done we are able start the actual process of installing the system. Last Tuesday we had the go-ahead from the relevant authority.

So Friday saw the delivery of a 3 cubic meter tank, 4 dumper truck loads: 3 of sand and 1 of gravel; as well as the return of Ken's digger and dumper truck. He did a great job on the drive and terrace in July and is back to dig our fosse septique.

4 dumper loads of sand/gravel

dumper truck bringing sand
And now the "fun" will start. The various organisations checked out our soil to make sure it was suitable to put in the system so we know that below about 60cm of clay there is a pretty solid slab of calcaire (chalk). It runs all through the region. This is good news for the filter bed but isn't any fun to dig out. Nor is getting rid of the spoil going to be easy. We have to find 'suitable' spaces on our property to dump it as taking it away is so expensive we'd need to rob a bank to pay for it!
But in the end it will all be well worth it as we will have a self-contained system which is green--anaerobic bacteria do all the hard work and the filter bed ensures safe, cleaned water goes back into the ground.

tank and digger
our house in snow
Now we just have to hope that the weather doesn't cause problems. Saturday we had a dusting of snow, but today it is coming down properly. It all looks lovely but won't make things easier.

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