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Covering over an old (smelly) well.. ?


joidevie
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Hello everyone..

Our builder has been preparing a floor in a rear room for a new screed with new drainage pipes etc. Whilst digging out the old 'egout' in the corner, he's discovered what he thinks is an old well (you can see water and it seems like it is an old construction of around 50cmx50cm and over 1m deep but could be more). He says to simply screed over it (we already have another well, so none more needed).

We're a little unsure as it stinks of sewerage which we're not sure why. It is positioned in the same corner where an old WC used to be, but in truth, the WC was connected to the egout which appears intact. The previous family clearly knew the well was there as they had already made a screed platform over it at a previous time.

Are there any alarm bells ringing here is we simply put a dalle over all of this? There has been no overflowing of the 'well' in the last years..

And what is the smell? One possibility could be that two years ago we had a blockage in that egout (under the neighbour's house) and loads of sewerage came up in that corner (and into our house!) - and maybe this flowed into this well and has contaminated it?

Or indeed, might it not be a well at all, and maybe an old 'sump' for collecting water between the two houses?

We're not familiar with any of this, and want to know a bit more before the builder returns on Monday  ;o)

Any experiences or knowledge would be most welcome.

Many thanks.

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Could it be a "fosse étanche", or cesspit? That could certainly be a circular structure resembling a well. The original lav may have been installed over or near one in the dim and distant past as the only way to collect the toilet waste, then connected to better drainage later on - and nobody bothered to get a "vidangeur" along to do the final emptying of the fosse before sealing it off.

If that's the case, maybe you should get a vidangeur to come and empty it out and give it a power wash in there.

Angela
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I had the same thoughts as Angela

You should definitely should get someone in to empty the old fosse otherwise it could produce "nasty niffs" forever![:(]

Are you certain that your neighbour doesn't have anything[+o(] leaving their property via your old fosse?

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Interesting possibility.. Could be an unpleasant vidange after so many years  :o(

Might it just be simpler to dalle over it and be done with it for another 100 years? Or is this a methane/damp/odor problem in the brewing.. ? This will be a small shower room, tiled, placo walled etc..

It's a terraced house and I'm sure next door has long since modernised their system to town sewerage.. I'm not sure my old pompe de cuve will be very happy, nor my other half who is out there right now and would have to do it!

Many thanks..

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[quote user="joidevie"]Interesting possibility.. Could be an unpleasant vidange after so many years  :o(

Might it just be simpler to dalle over it and be done with it for another 100 years? Or is this a methane/damp/odor problem in the brewing.. ? This will be a small shower room, tiled, placo walled etc..

It's a terraced house and I'm sure next door has long since modernised their system to town sewerage.. I'm not sure my old pompe de cuve will be very happy, nor my other half who is out there right now and would have to do it!

Many thanks..

[/quote]

It's a lot more unpleasant when it's fresh! [+o(]

Bodge it, up to you, but how about putting some javel in there to sweeten things up first then pump it out or hire someone to do it.  There wont be many solids after this amount of time so a pump would shift it easily.

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We had a cottage that had no access round the back, and the vidangeur ran his pipes through the house out to the back where the cesspit was. They do clean their pipes down afterwards! It's a very slick operation.

Angela
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Our cottages front onto a communal courtyard/parking area. The cottages have been on mains drainage for some years, but recently the courtyard was resurfaced and diggers unearthed old (full) fosses directly in front of our cottage walls. There were two, connected by a large holding tank. The Maire called in the vidange people, emptied the fosses, and they were filled in with what they had been digging up from the courtyard! We are just hoping the old fosses weren't connected to anything that matters.

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