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­The European Union and France have adopted measures intended to better protect water from all kinds of pollution threats. This is the state of the law on water and aquatic environments as of 30 December 2006.

  • What are the rules on drainage?

    • Each dwelling must have a non-polluting drainage system.

    • The system is said to be "collective" when the dwelling (or building) is connected to the sewers by a communal drainage system.

    • The system is said to be "non-collective" when the dwelling (or building) is not connected to a communal drainage system. If this is the case, the dwelling (or building) must have an "independent" installation (septic tank or other arrangement) in order to treat the household waste water individually

  • What are the obligations of private citizens if there is a collective drainage system?

    • Users have an obligation :

    • - to be connected to the sewers. The connection must be made within a period of two years as from the date on which the communal drainage system comes into operation. The drain must be installed under the public road to which the buildings have access, either directly or via private roads or rights of way. All the work required to carry the used water to the communal drains are the exclusive responsibility of the owner of the dwelling.

    • - to pay a communal fee to cover the investment and maintenance costs.

    • If the connection to the public system proves to be technically difficult, the time limit may be extended or the owner may be granted an exemption. However, exemptions will only be granted if the dwelling has an individual drainage system.

  • What are the obligations of private citizens if the drainage system is non-collective?

    • If there is no collective drainage system, users have an obligation to install their own drainage system. There are several types, and whichever is most appropriate will be determined by the nature of the land. An individual drainage system must always function properly. The owner must ensure that the system is maintained (and possibly the tank emptied) by a company approved by the prefecture of their department.

  • What are the obligations if the property is sold?

    • The seller has an obligation to provide information about the state of the non-collective drainage system in the technical diagnosis file appended to the promise to sell or, failing that, the authentic instrument recording the sale. This obligation has been in force since 1 January 2011. The document is valid for three years.

  • Inspection of the non-collective drainage system

    • The control of non-collective drainage system is compulsory and carried out by the Public Non-Collaborative Sanitation Service (SPANC).

    • An attestation of conformity of the new or rehabilitated drainage project must be issued by SPANC and attached to any application for a building permit or a development permit. "This provision applies whether it concerns an application for a building permit for a new dwelling or for an extension of a dwelling, insofar as the extension of the dwelling is accompanied by the rehabilitation of the d Existing non-collective drainage "(ministerial response of 02 February 2017).

    • In addition, SPANC must carry out periodic inspections of existing installations once every 10 years (Article 7 of the Order of 27 April 2012 on the procedures for carrying out the inspection mission of non-collective sewerage installations.)

  • Who should carry out the report on the state of the non-collective drainage system?

    • If an inspection has already taken place, the inspection report, issued by the department with responsibility for non-collective drainage [service public d’assainissement non collectif (SPANC)] may be appended to the promise to sell or, failing that, the authentic instrument recording the sale.

    • If such an inspection has not taken place (or if the document is no longer valid), the seller must contact the SPANC to arrange an inspection of the installation. The owner will then be provided with an inspection certificate which must be appended to the promise to sell or, failing that, the authentic instrument recording the sale.

    • If, when the deed of sale is signed, the installation is not in conformity, the buyer must bring it into conformity within a period of one year after the date of the deed of sale. Failing this, the buyer may be required to pay a sum at least equivalent to the fee that they would have paid if the dwelling had been connected.

  • Find a notaire

    • Find the details in the Directory of Notaires of France.

    • Before buying a property, do not hesitate to consult your notaire in order to find out about your rights and obligations.


Nowadays, when a residential property is valued, the valuation takes account of the drainage system and any work that will be required to bring it into conformity, which the buyer will have to pay for.

See also
Conseil du coin : meet a french notaire to a cafe !
French property market report / N°37
Marius Kohler nouveau president des notaires d'europe - Janvier 2018
New Presidency of the CNUE
French property market report of Notaires de France - January 2018
French property market report / N°38