Blog Header

Blog Header

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New septic tank installation - Part 2

The continuation of Part 1 which is the previous post here.

The last two days!

The green lidded thing is the pump to pump the water uphill to the sand filter bed.
Can you see where that pipe for the toilet waste is going?

More trenches, although my OH had been filling in and
laying turf back over the trenches further uphill over the weekend.

Yup, the toilet waste pipe went right under my planter with Gertrude Jekyll the rose in it!

Looking out of my office window at a nice truckful of gravel.

The last morning before David arrived, there was still a lot to do.

The two piles of soil were the best he could get from a quarry as we didn't have enough,
however the quality was atrocious as it was so full of stones and lumps of hard clay.

I had to add this one because I just noticed the other two cats in it!
Hallie is the black one and Bertie the one who is legging it!

I didn't take many pics as it was all about filling in after connecting the pump up to
the electricity, and then sorting out my rainwater pipe to be diverted to the old tank.

Trying to connect the rainwater pipes deserves a mention because of what we discovered! Running a hose into the inspection trap where all the rain from the front of the house comes into before exiting down the pipe to the soakaway only got water going partway along the new pipe. After a while it was discovered that neither the pipe coming from the downpipe from the other side of the roof, nor the pipe to take the rainwater away, had been sealed in. They had big gaps around them. Meaning that for the last 19 years since the previous owners renovated this place, all the rainwater from the entire downpipes around the house had just been soaking into the ground beside the house! Which probably explains why our coat cupboard right by the downpipe at the front of the house is always damp and in the past turned some of our jackets mouldy, until we left the door wide open permanently, so all I can say is thank goodness for free draining soil! So my OH has cemented it all in (all three inspection traps were like this. Bloody cowboy builders!) and it now works. Now we just need some rain!

And so the work was completed at 11pm last Wednesday - thankfully it is daylight here until gone 10pm in summer. 

And afterwards. The next day we set to trying to rake up the worst of the stones, which was a job and a half, given that our soil is stony, but the bought in soil from the quarry was half stone and lumps of solid clay! Somehow we have to also try to define what is gravel driveway and what is lawn.....

You can't really see in any of my photos quite how mounded our new mound is,
it does look quite ridiculous in our sloping lawn and will be hell to mow.

Nice rocks.

A lot of the rubble went to fill in the hole around the two inspection pipes for the toilet waste and the rainwater pipe to the old tank.

At least I have new gravel, although it probably won't be quite enough.

One good thing has come of all this, our toilets flush a lot better now that they are not going slightly uphill (yes really!) to the old septic tank!!!

Today or tomorrow David is bringing us a load of decent topsoil from his own land to finish off; this however will be dumped outside our gate on the grass so we will be barrowing 4 tons of soil up the steep slope of our drive.... so for the meantime the new gravel will not be spread until we are ready. And anyway, it is so dry and dusty here it's just not worth doing anything on a slope until we have had enough decent rain to be able to bed it in. Which might not be until the autumn rains come, but at least we can do the flat bits here and there, because we are not busting a gut as there are enough jobs to do in a garden this size in summer!


  1. What an ordeal!!! Your topsoil reminds me of all the plants that came up in soil I used even though they had promised it was free of seed. Although there were a few welcomed plants, most were noxious weeds :-(

    1. Your comment did come through after all, Marianne! Our bought potting compost contains weed seeds which is annoying because it shouldn't. I wonder what 'weeds' will come from this imported soil?! :-)

  2. Well, what a lot of work still to do but at least it is done now and you have efficient flushing loos!
    You're going to be exhausted over summer if you are out in the garden working till late!
    Good luck with it all. You have such a beautiful garden; it is a lot o work but I can tell you enjoy it too!

    1. Yes at least there is peace and quiet here again! I have been out till late several evenings because I am now watering for hours every day again as the whole garden is drooping. That's why the new rainwater tank is so important, although it may not come into good use until next year when it will be full from the rain over winter.

      I do enjoy it but some of the work is starting to become like a chore and I now wish (at times) that I had a smaller garden! :-) Cheers, Kim!

  3. Well that is allot of work, it's hard starting a big project like this but it's done now. You will have strong arms from all that watering, you have a big garden...
    Amanda xx

    1. Hi Amanda, yup it's kept us busy and the topsoil arrived yesterday so I let my OH barrow a load up and it has hardly any stones in it, yay! I'm not walking around the entire garden with watering cans, even with a hose it takes forever. I do the veg patch with watering cans most of the time though as no point wasting water on bare patches of soil. :-)

  4. An epic saga Mandy, wish we could export some rain to you. While you are helping your arms grow longer, we are wondering how fast the grass will grow while we are away. Eight inches might be the last straw, especially as friends from 'dahn sauff' have asked if they can stop off for a meal and the night on their way up to Orkney. Trouble is we'll have just driven up overnight from Portsmouth. Oh, well, he did say they would bring gin - keep smiling :-)

    1. Hi Nick - we did have some rain this month, but with sun and recently, strong winds, it just dries out so quickly. I've got a newly planted shrub that has been drooping on and off for about 6 weeks - I just cannot water enough. And that's why all that rainwater staying at the base of the house walls has not caused more damage!

      Have a wonderful time on your trip but that's a bit of a pain having people coming to stay just as you get home!

  5. Great read, I have got a septic tank that has to be done soon so reading about yours has given me an insight of what to expect. I am in Central Brittany, did you choose installer on recommendation? Or is there a list of approved installers to use through SPANC? I like the idea of using someone who has good English for understanding the technical side of things.

    1. Ian - glad it was helpful, all I've seen before are pictures of people's mudbaths having theirs done in winter, but never the details!

      Here are David Gray's details if you wish to contact him. We originally asked around friends who had had theirs done and how much they paid, contacted a few people (I think from Yellow Pages) and found David's previous company who he used to work for. But they stopped doing septic tank installations so he branched out on his own. We went with him because his quotes seemed reasonable, he came out twice and gave us various devis for different options and was very helpful. Also wanted to support someone starting a new business (he seems very busy already which is great). And yes, a native English speaker helps for something that is as major as this when we know little about it all! He does provide references too if you want but so long as nothing major goes wrong here ;-) we would recommend him. Good luck!

      DRTP Assainissement

      6 Ld. Biheul
      35190 St.Domineuc

      Tel: Port:


      SIRET 449 179 449 00029

  6. Mandy,

    Thanks for the info :)


    1. No problems, and if you have any more questions you can always email me by using the Contact Me form on the right side up near the top of the page. :-)