Hundreds of fish have been killed after a chemical spill into a Fife burn.
People have been warned to stay away from Ceres Burn as environment watchdog Sepa carries out a full-scale investigation into the incident.
The regulator hopes to prevent any further damage as it ascertains exactly what chemical has entered the burn.
It is also liaising with other bodies about any potential risks to public health.
Worried locals raised the alarm on Monday after scores of dead trout were spotted in the water that runs through Ceres village.
Ceres Burn flows into the River Eden, one of Fife’s principal rivers, before entering the North Sea via the Eden Estuary.
And it is home to a number of species, including otters.
People living in the houses that border the stream say authorities were slow to act, particularly given the number of children who play there.
Meanwhile, the area’s MSP and MP have called for a swift investigation and action against the polluter.
Hundreds of dead fish
Ceres man Willie Mackenzie said the community is “pretty upset”.
“In the stretch of the burn through the village itself there were many hundreds of dead fish, mostly trout of various sizes,” he said.
“The burn is home to a lot of wildlife, such as dippers, kingfishers, wagtails and even otters.
“It runs alongside many gardens and homes, as well as through the village green, and is played and guddled in by countless kids and dogs on a daily basis.”
Mr Mackenzie said it took two days to put warning signs up.
“People are pretty upset that the reaction from authorities seems so slow and unclear,” he said.
“With so many using the burn as an amenity for walks, or living or playing next to, it really should have been made clear what was happening and what the risk was.”
Second chemical spill into Fife rivers
It is the second serious chemical spill to hit Fife’s watercourses in just two and a half years,
In October 2018, around 500 salmon and trout died after an incident at the River Eden near Cupar.
North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said action must be taken.
“Our burns and rivers deserve better than this,” he said.
“We need a swift and thorough investigation by Sepa to find out what has gone wrong and take action against the polluter.
“I am concerned that when we should be enhancing local biodiversity we are instead causing great harm to it.”
Mr Rennie’s Liberal Democrat colleague, Wendy Chamberlain MP, contacted Sepa on Monday after being notified of the dead fish by local people.
“I am alarmed about the damage to the environment of the burn and its habitat,” she said.
“I am also concerned about the subsequent limited information and guidance to the public from Sepa.
“This needs clarity and action soon.”
Sepa confirmed it is still investigating the incident and thanked the public for alerting the agency.
A spokesman said: “Sepa is attending and investigating the fish kill, which is due to a nearby chemical spill.
“We have taken samples to better understand exactly what chemicals have entered the watercourse and are liaising with partners about any potential risks to public health.
“Work is also under way to ensure no more chemicals enter the watercourse.”
Last week, Sepa issued a warning to businesses to comply with environment laws or run the risk of prosecution.
It came days after Scottish Water was prosecuted and fined £6,700 for the toxic spill in the River Eden.