Three Oaks sewer network improvements

We’re building a multi-million pound environmental scheme in Three Oaks which will allow 120 customers to connect to a main sewer for the first time.

Most of the properties in the village are served by private facilities in the form of cesspools or septic tanks, which need to be maintained and emptied regularly to protect the environment.

Why we are doing this

Some years ago, Rother District Council found evidence of pollution in the watercourses and areas of land within the village and this was traced back to defective or poorly performing cesspools or septic tanks. It then applied to have us build a public sewer system to protect the village and improve its environment.


Our scheme

Our scheme will be delivered in two phases. We’re building a 3.1km sewer, which will run through the village over the railway. We’re also building a pumping station.

We’re delivering the improvements in two phases to ensure we have an effective solution and minimise disruption, while delivering best value for our customers. Our long-term plans include a wastewater treatment works to the south of the village on Butchers lane.

For our treatment works to operate effectively and efficiently - to guarantee a continuity of bacterial treatment – there is a minimum volume of wastewater which must flow through it. For this reason we will monitor the numbers of connections being made so we’re ready to go ahead with the second phase as flows approach the required level.

In the meantime, we’re continuing with our current programme, which includes all the sewer pipes, a collection tank, the fencing, roads and landscaping of the treatment works site. This means all the necessary infrastructure will be in place for the treatment works, when we come to build it.

The reception tank will be incorporated into the treatment works when we come to build it. For now, the tank will store the flows from the new sewers and we’ll use tankers to transport the waste to an existing works nearby where it will be fully treated.


More information?

Once our new infrastructure is commissioned will write to residents to let them know and provide details on how to connect. If you have any questions about construction, please contact:

MGJV's site manager Ewald Smit at mobile 07423467411

SW's customer liaison officer Barry Woodham - 07788 356969.

What is Southern Water building?

We’re constructing all the public sewers required to serve Three Oaks with our delivery partner MGjv. This includes boundary boxes (which are the connection point for customers) and the network to collect the wastewater for treatment.

All pipes laid under the contract will be constructed at Southern Water’s cost and will automatically be vested in (the property of) Southern Water as the sewerage undertaker to form part of the public network.

Will I be forced to connect to the new sewer?

We have no legal power to force you to connect to the new public sewerage system.

However, once the new sewers are commissioned, if at any time your private system is found to be the cause of the pollution, you could be served with an enforcement notice by the environmental health team of Rother District Council requiring you to 'cease polluting'.

This would require you to either repair or replace your own system, or to connect to the new Southern Water system.

Will it be cheaper for me to use my current system?

The aim of providing a public sewerage system is to protect the village environment from pollution and we hope that you will choose to connect to the new system.

If you’re currently paying for the cost of emptying your tank, it could be that your emptying payment is cheaper, however, if your system needs repair or replacement it may be beneficial to connect to the public sewer.

If you have a cesspool that requires frequent emptying, connection to the public system could well be cheaper for you. There is also the continued risk of causing pollution with a faulty private system.

Details of getting connected?

Once we have completed the sewerage network we’ll let you know the location of the boundary box for your property.

You’ll then need to make your own arrangements to connect to the public sewer at this point. The connection will be for sewage only. Details on how to make the application can be found at

How much will it cost to connect to the new sewer?

The cost for each property will be different depending on how much work you would need to do to your existing private drains in order to make the connection.

Once the scheme is commissioned we will write to you to let you know the location of your boundary box/ connection point. In order to assist you in making the connection, we’re waiving the connection fee (currently £277) and infrastructure fee for applications made within six months of the date of your letter.

You will be responsible for carrying out the work to make the connection to the boundary box including design, planning construction and making of the application and any fees or cost associated.

Surface water and groundwater infiltration

Groundwater drainage is not accepted into SW sewers under any circumstances. Therefore, any physical defects within an existing customer drain which allows the entry of groundwater must be repaired by the customer prior to connecting to the public sewer.

Accordingly, water from areas of hard standing such as roads, roofs and paved surfaces) must be separated by the customer from foul sewer connections and disposed of in accordance with current building regulations, concerning sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).

The customer is responsible for all necessary permissions associated with their private laterals (i.e. connections between the waste water outlets from the property and the property boundary box).

What do I do next?

If you’d like to connect, read our online guide or contact our Developer Services team: 0330 303 0119

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