ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners are furious after the latest bout of storm outflow sent sewage into the beaches of Leigh, Chalkwell and Southend.
Heavy rain in the second and third weeks of March caused sewage overflow into the sea, according to angry campaigners.
Anglian Water confirmed outfalls on Three Shells Beach, Jubilee Beach, Leigh Bell Wharf, Chalkwell Beach and Thorpe Bay, saw them pump sewage into the sea on March 8.
The releases were not immediately reported on Anglian Water’s Beach Aware system, the company said, due to “planned maintenance” on the same day.
Southend Jubilee Beach and Southend Three Shells Beach were named in Surfers Against Sewage’s recent list, a week after this initial outfall.
The marine conservation charity monitors the water quality across the nation in both seas and rivers to keep the public in-the-know of any spots affected by sewage.
As part of an ongoing attempt to tackle the issue of sewage in the Thames, Southend West MP Anna Frith has arranged for Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson to visit Southend’s beaches on March 31, to meet with her and other environment agency representatives.
Commenting on the recent storms, she said: “I was deeply disappointed to learn that Anglian Water’s Beach Aware system – designed to give real time updates on the sewage discharges – failed to work on a day when five overflows were used across our city’s beautiful beaches.
“It is simply not good enough, and once again highlights the importance of the meeting at the end of this month where I will be holding this company to account on their need to urgently invest in improvements, especially following the £92 million dividend they paid to their owners last year.”
An Anglian Water spokesman said: “Last week we carried out planned maintenance and testing on monitoring equipment, which is used to detect storm overflows in Southend to ensure that the system was working correctly.
“To ensure that false alerts were not issued during this work, the external alert system was temporarily switched off on March 8.
“After heavy rainfall last week, some genuine spills did occur. As we were still undertaking work on our system, we issued manual alerts on this occasion to ensure stakeholders and the public were still made aware of any potential impacts to bathing water quality.
“This is what led to the delay in notifications. Checks on the system have now been completed and the external alert system is now switched back on.
“All six bathing waters in Southend are classified as Good or Excellent for bathing water quality.”
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