In 1983 and 1986, surveys were conducted all over France on wastewater stabilization by “natural” ponds (lagoons), including an almost exhaustive inventory of the 1400 plants then operating. The statistical interpretation of collected data made it possible to analyse the spread of this technique, which became truly popular only ten years ago, and to discern the usual design basis and regional features. With a mean plant area of 5500 m2, lagoons are usually restricted to the treatment of effluents from rural communities, with the exception of large plants in coastal touristic areas. Partially planted ponds are a competing alternative to conventional algal lagooning. Current conditions of pond management are reviewed, with results of effluent quality.

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