An investigation into the possible contamination of a private water supply has been launched following the spreading of waste near Auchterarder.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) began the probe into the suspected pollution after receiving numerous complaints from concerned locals, with one source claiming the odour from the waste could be smelt for miles.
The waste did not come from humans and is thought to be a by-product of the distillery process.
It is unknown how many houses rely on the private water supply but it is thought around 40 homes could be affected following the spreading of waste on land in the Auchterarder area.
Brian Roxburgh, SEPA’s unit manager in Perth, said: “SEPA began receiving complaints on Friday February 15 about odour from waste being spread in the Auchterarder area and complaints continued over the weekend.
“SEPA officers visited the site on Friday and the spreading activity was stopped.
“Work continued to plough in what had already been spread to reduce odours.
“Liaison with Perth and Kinross Council regarding private water supplies in the area is ongoing.
“SEPA officers are working with the company involved to ensure all required mitigation and protection of the water environment is in place.”
Another spokesperson from SEPA confirmed the waste being spread was lime distillery cake, a by-product of the distilling process, and not human or animal waste.
However they added that lime distillery cake is a product they “wouldn’t want in the waterways”.
An Auchterarder resident, who asked not to be named, is worried about the health risks posed by any contamination.
They said: “Waste being spread on farmland could affect the health of up to 40 properties by contaminating private water supplies.
“The smell is so bad it could be smelt three miles away in Auchterarder.”
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council confirmed that they are liaising with SEPA on the matter but were “unable to say” how many homes could be affected.
In May last year a landowner in Fife was hit with legal action for spreading of lime distillery cake.
Fife Council gave notice to the owners of the site near Dunfermline following an investigation prompted by complaints about the smell caused by 1,000 tonnes of limed distillery waste being spread on fields.
The stench was branded vile, horrible and nasty, with many people complaining it had actually made them vomit.