clearing a blocked pipe

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  • 20th November 2021 at 4:06 pm #563467

    We recently had trouble with a blocked pipe leading from the kitchen. I contacted an organisation called Compagnie des Déboucheurs, which have tradesmen throughout the country. M. Simon, the artisan who deals with the St Malo area came and after putting down a camera to see where the blockage was, he set about clearing it.  We were very impressed with his work and he is also very pleasant. He gave us some good advice on how to avoid the problem in future. I’ve recommended him to our plumber in case other clients have the same type of problem.

    The man our plumber contacted originally never turned up and also his tarif was higher. So I know which artisan I’ll use if we have the same problem again.

    20th November 2021 at 4:48 pm #563469

    When we came back from our break …our loos were semi blocked…panic ensued…mostly me!

    no one could come and empty the septic tank for a week…more panic from me…we called the mayor…he straight away said ..leave it to me …hours later a large emptying van arrived …and did the job…we paid …what we believe is an excellent rate.

    Sadly the pipes were still blocked…wads of paper being the major culprit…( we now have 2 ply loo rolls)

    we called several plumbers…no one could come…our regular plumber was sick…one company said yes they could come 310 euros for the visit plus any costs….we decided to ask our neighbour if they knew anyone.

    He said …

    Yes…me…and  came around with a rubber hammer..he obviously knew what he was doing….he started tapping the pipe…after half an hour there was a whoosh…and the crisis was over…a couple of beers and a lot of laughing…he went home with a couple of bottles of the wine we had carried back from Italy…

    our system is new..7 years only…we did ask for it to be emptied …as a courtesy…before we moved in…we suspect it was overlooked.

    i also suspect that 12 days of no use resulted in whatever was in the pipes drying out….

    We havent had a septic tank for the last 18 years…the last house was on mains…We are changing to 2 ply paper and trying to use smaller wads…(too much information)

    I put the powder down every week….

    Im not sure if we can do anything else?

    I preferred being on mains drainage…but it will not happen here…from now on more care.





    21st November 2021 at 9:45 am #563478

    We have a septic tank and we never put loo paper down our loos, I have a discrete bin beside each one and empty it daily.

    We never use the powder and have lived here 17 years quite happily, getting our fosse emptied every 2 years.

    21st November 2021 at 10:23 am #563479

    We always use the pink loo paper from Super -U which is suitable for chemical toilets. It dissolves easily and has not caused any problems in more than ten years. We have never had to empty the septic tank either.

    21st November 2021 at 10:38 am #563480

    Very interesting reading the above posts.

    It was discussed years ago about paper becoming a problem with effluent drains.  The worst culprit was deemed to be the thicker 4-ply types at the “luxury” end of the range.

    It seems we are not the only ones here with a fosse that needs emptying.  I think they call it a fosse etanche or something similar.  The standard setup that has a set of soakaway trenches or a deep sand filter doesn’t need emptying for several years.  With  that system some people add an activator powder to keep the useful bacteria doing their job of “digesting” the solids, particularly if the house is used only occasionally.  This leaves a very small amount of sludge at the bottom of the tank much reducing the need for emptying.   I know of one holiday home that went a good ten years between needing this and many fully occupied homes having it only every 5 years.  Tanks that are sealed and in full time occupation do not require the powder and it is a waste of money.  The liquid input will require the tank being emptied long before the solids become a problem.  With just two of us here ours needs to be emptied twice a year at a cost of about €235 a time.

    21st November 2021 at 1:39 pm #563485

    Interesting…our septic tank conforms….( to what I.m not sure)

    it’s relatively new…but the house was a holiday home…used 2/3 months a year .

    yes…we used thick toilet paper…3/4 ply…we have now changed for 2 ply…

    our cost for emptying was 100 euros and he said maybe every three years…

    I would not want to stop putting paper down the loo…even with à macérateur (sp)

    you are allowed paper…we had one in the UK in one loo.

    interesting about the powder…..I’m not even sure what it is?

    what about bleach etc?

    interesting to hear what others have to say…Thankyou


    21st November 2021 at 2:07 pm #563487

    Emptying your fosse every three years is mad.  He is simply trying to bump up his business.  Having said that, €100 a time is well cheap.

    Your theory about the “drying out” is the most likely cause of the blockage, given the intermittent usage.   The contents of the toilet tends to move along the pipework little by little unless it is a very short and steep path to the tank.  Each subsequent flush moves things along until it drops into the fosse.

    The powder is simply an activator to keep the bacteria active.  Not normally needed unless the fosse has just been emptied or hasn’t been used for some time, as in holiday homes.  Full time usage there really is no need as the constant “input” keeps the system going.

    21st November 2021 at 2:36 pm #563488

    We installed a new septic tank system (with filter bed, etc) a number of years ago as the existing one was a “fosse morte” and did not meet the standards required.  It was graded “noir” . We benefited from a grant that was available at the time to encourage those people with the worst ones to update their system. The grants are no longer available and we are glad we changed at the time. Veolia inspect the system every 4 or 5 years. We only get the fosse septique emptied every 4 or 5 years as recommended by the man from Veolia.

    21st November 2021 at 5:51 pm #563491

    Really useful post …especially after a block.

    Thankyou :good: :good:

    21st November 2021 at 6:03 pm #563495

    The activator mentioned above that we use after longish periods of inactivity (from three weeks) is Eparcyl sold in all major supermarkets.

    21st November 2021 at 6:20 pm #563498

    I put one down every Friday…eparcyl that is!

    21st November 2021 at 7:23 pm #563501

    We have a fosse septique , installed myself , had no problems , emptied every 10 years , eparcyl  every week ( same as Marmite) simples ?

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