ONE of Southend’s busiest beaches has missed out on a Blue Flag accolade thanks homes being badly plumbed, it has emerged.

Rainwater running from roof tops during downpours is supposed to run into a surface water drainage system separate to pipes carrying so-called grey water from washing machines and bathing water.

However, water companies suspect pipes in developments, such as flat conversions, are sometimes being wrongly connected meaning “grey water” could be discharged through rainwater outlets on beaches rather than with treated effluent 1.5 kilometres out to sea.

Blue Flag awards are given to beaches that boast the highest quality of water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.

At a place scrutiny meeting attended by Anglian Water on Monday, Martin Terry, Independent councillor for Thorpe Ward, said he believed this was behind issues in Hartington Road, adding: “We’ve had big problems with the Hartington Road outfall pipe. It caused absolute chaos down there not that long ago in a summer season.

“One of the key things about Hartington Road is that outlet is preventing us from getting a Blue Flag on that beach [City Beach] because there are wrong connections. When will that be resolved because we are getting Blue Flags on various beaches but not on that one and it’s our main tourist beach?”

James Froggatt, Anglian Water’s regional treatment manager, said: “We are robustly investigating that, cleansing the sewers all the way along it, trying to find out where the illegal connections are coming into it, if there are illegal connections in there. We’re looking into it.”