When looking for a home in France, be aware that many houses are not connected to a public sewer system. Especially in the countryside, many houses have a fosse septic, a closed system where micro-organisms process the sewage inside the tank.
The mill had a small one hidden in the basement. It was just about big enough to support all waste water coming from a household of two people. Read: Two People! The previous owners didn’t really care about nature, I guess. They sent all the grey water from the kitchen straight into the stream. We used this only one summer, and it made the stream run dirty within a month. 😦
But more important: our plans of having the house hold up to eight guests definitely required a bigger fosse septic. The worse thing is we had to meet the new rules for septic tanks (read). They are not allowed indoors anymore. It has to go outdoors in the open field. But it gets worse: the only place possible for us is the court yard. And yet another new rule requires a drain field which you are not allowed to drive over.
But before we knew it, our contractor decided, arranged it, and had the paperwork done and ready to sign. One week later our old ‘merde’ disparu. Gone was the old septic tank, and in the basement we’ve room for a laundry room. WOW! So now we will have clean clothing–and a clean stream, too!