An environmental watchdog is investigating pollution at a burn where local people have reported the water turning black, dead fish and toxic smells.
Local MSPs Rona Mackay and Fulton MacGregor contacted the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) over the issues affecting the Bothlin Burn, which runs through the Moodiesburn area of North Lanarkshire.
Sepa said the pollution may have downstream effects on the Luggie Water and River Kelvin and investigations are under way to identify the source of the problem.
In the letter to Sepa, the SNP MSPs said: “The local community is very concerned as this is a popular spot with dog walkers and families out walking.
“They are reporting the water turning black, dead fish, stones covered in slime and strong toxic smells.
“As you can understand, with the recent weather uptick and our constituents using the local area for walking, exercise and leisure, our constituents remain incredibly concerned for the safety of the local environment.”
They also referred to an incident in 2007 when a local company was reportedly fined £5,000 over a pollution incident at the burn and they asked what steps have been taken to ensure nothing similar has happened since then.
Local resident Laura Cranie said the pollution was first noticed in the past couple of weeks.
She told the PA news agency: “To start with it looked more like milk rather than water, it was so cloudy, then as it started to settle you could see what I can only describe as grey feather-like fat stuck to every surface area on the bed of the burn.
“Throughout the days there then came pink waste and a black type of oily substance gathered around the edges. The smell was absolutely atrocious and it was a concern it could have an effect on local residents having to breathe it in, obviously the heat extenuated it and that didn’t help.
“Local residents here and further along where it has now reached the Luggie are very upset about the damage this has done to wildlife and the environment of the area, also what the long-term damage will be.”
Sepa said an investigation is under way.
A spokesman said: “Sepa is aware of a pollution issue in the Bothlin Burn in the Moodiesburn area that may have downstream effects on the Luggie Water and River Kelvin.
“Our officers have attended every day since Sunday and samples have been taken.
“Investigations are continuing, with an ecological survey planned for Thursday, and we are in contact with all relevant parties with a view to identifying the source or sources and determining what further action needs to be taken.
“Thank-you to everyone who took the time to contact us. Pollution incidents can be reported via our 24-hour online form at www.sepa.org.uk/report.”
Thomas McMenamin, East Dunbartonshire Council’s executive officer for roads and environment, said: “We have been made aware of a pollution issue within the Bothlin Burn in the Moodiesburn area, which is also affecting the Luggie Water and River Kelvin.
“We are liaising with Sepa – which takes the lead on environmental incidents of this kind – and have shared information on social media.”
A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “On Friday 16 July, we received a report of an issue at Bothlin Burn and we attended to carry out investigations.
“Following these investigations, we can confirm that Scottish Water assets in this area are working as they should.
“The discharge which was present was not as a result of any Scottish Water infrastructure. We can confirm that our trade effluent team is carrying out further assessments to determine the potential source of any discharge.
“Scottish Water takes environmental issues extremely seriously and appropriate action will be taken once any source has been confirmed.”