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Noémie Farm (ecogîte)

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The personal sewage treatment plant

Reducing water pollution while bringing biodiversity home.

Time to set up

1 week




Investment cost


The solution

When we talk about sewage treatment plants, we immediately think of large collective infrastructure with large pools of water. But it is actually possible to create a small natural ecosystem at home to do so!

This helps to limit water and soil pollution and create a pleasant environment by bringing biodiversity back to your home!

Who is it for?

  • You own a fairly large plot of land with a house, a hotel, an inn, a restaurant… You want to create a pleasant natural space to bring back biodiversity and be autonomous on your water consumption.
  • You are a small municipality and you want to get out of the conventional wastewater system to provide a more eco-responsible and economical service to your inhabitants.

Full PDF kit

Successful replications: 2


  • A garden
  • An all-water pit upstream of the basin
  • For the reed:
    • A pool with a liner (this can be the liner of a swimming pool),
    • Silica sand and/or gravel at the bottom that filters water (easy to find in a quarry),
    • Reeds that allow the appearance of bacteria (macrophytes) that break down pollutants (in garden centres or in nature).
  • What is needed to connect the house to the reed pad.
  • All explanations with diagrams;
  • Water regulations in France;
  • Instructions for the operation of a sewage treatment plant.


Step 1: Understanding how a reed tree works

You will find in the kit a clear and concise explanatory sheet of the general operation.

>> General operation of a reedlière,available in the download kit.

Step 2: Find out what type of pit you have

All-water pit (or septic tank). Don’t worry about starting the reed.

Special case: You have a storage pit (watertight pit) that is designed to store water. It is to be drained entirely (after authorization from the Public Non-Collective Sanitation Service (SPANC)). You can then start with the reed.

Step 3: Make sure your pit is in good condition and drained

More information on the maintenance of a pit here > > ici

    Step 4: Prototype your project according to your needs and current regulations.

    Different types of water filtering by reed garden exist. You’ll find all these guys in the department’s FICHE downloadable with the kit.

    >> FICHE_Règles_et_bonnes_pratique of the ministry,available in the kit.

      Step 5: Contact the Non-Collective Public Sanitation Service (SPANC)

      Contact the Non-Collective Public Sanitation Service (SPANC) on which you depend (inquire in the town hall) to verify the compliance of your project.

      >> SPANC website

      Step 6: Contact an installer/approved company

      It must meet NF DTU 64.1 and install only products that meet the standard.

      >> NF DTU 64.1: The essentials to know and apply,available in the download kit

      Step 7: Buy the necessary equipment (based on your installer's advice)

      To do this, all products purchased must meet NF DTU 64.1. So don’t hesitate to ask your seller for details and advice.

      • Pipelines, pipes, technical equipment can be found in DIY stores;
      • Sand and gravel in stores or in quarries;
      • Plants in specialty stores. You can get a good overview of the different possible plants and their functions on this site.
      Step 8: Works

      The steps of the work are then to follow according to the schedule of your installer:

      • Terrace in order to respect the necessary slope between the facilities;
      • Install the liner, sand, gravel and the entire pipe system at the reed pad;
      • Plant and garden to obtain the ideal reed pad
      • Connect the systems to each other (always respecting the slopes).
      Step 9: Test installation
      Step 10: Get back in touch with SPANC
      Get back in touch with the SPANC at the end of the work and when the installation is working so that they control and make sure your reeder is compliant.

      Low maintenance cost:

      • Once every 10 years, a drain of the pit all waters upstream and control by the SPANC (which is subject to a fee) of about 100 euros.
      • Every year (preferably in March), the pelvis should be cleaned by raking in fallen winter leaves and mowing reeds (mowing half to avoid asphyxiation of the pelvis)


      Details of the figures can be found in our “sources” section below

      Maintenance cost - 20 euros per year [2]

      • More reliance on conventional infrastructure – lower water bills;
      • Start of water autonomy.

      Daily pollution - 162g of material rejected /person [1]

      • Reduce water pollution by no longer releasing toxic products;
      • Return of many animal and plant species.

      Education through the return of nature

      • It is odourless, pretty to look at and well integrated into the landscape;
      • A source of education for children and even the older ones.

      Precautions of employment

      • Implementation distances: You must have a large enough surface to accommodate the installation while respecting the standards.

      >> Regulatory distance scheme,available in the download kit.

      • Change your water consumption habits. No more oils, fats or other fats should be thrown into sinks, sinks, bathtubs or toilets! Biodegradable cleaning products will be preferred.
        • Once you have finished grilling a food in the pan, the pan will be wiped with a paper towel, until the fat is removed, before washing.
        • Cooled fryer oils will be poured into containers that will be removed from the dump or burned.
        • The use of after shampoos (very fat) will be avoided.
        • The brushes will no longer be cleaned, the rollers in the sink will be cleaned after painting work.
        • The car will be washed in washing stations properly equipped with compliant anti-pollutant facilities. Etc.

      What for? Because fat prevents oxygenation of water by reeds

      1. Ecological benefits:
      2. Gilles’ wise advice (The Noémie Farm)
      3. The SPANC website for all regulations:
      4. On the maintenance of a septic tank:

      They did it!

      2 successful replications

      The farm of Noémie, Gilles and Marie-Christine Revial, Ecogîte (Alberville, 74)

      How does the Noémie Farm reed work?
      “This 65m2 reedbed (macrophyte beds) is sized for an equivalent of 25 people a day and is the subject of an agreement of the MISE (inter-ministerial mission on water) in 2006. It was checked regularly by spanC.

      Our macrophyte bed consists of a waterproof membrane (liner of an old swimming pool) 2 m deep. In the lower part, the non-clogging filtering massif is composed of layered layers of pebbles, gravel and coarse sand. The reeds are planted at a rate of 4 to 9 plants per square metre. The development of reeds creates a network of stems and roots (rhizomes) whose growth is related to the feeding of the basin. Maintenance is required every year to prevent the system from becoming asphyxiating.”

      See his website >

      The municipality of Sappey in Savoy
      Replicar of the solution

      See his website >

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