Pollution probe under way at Keil’s Burn

The gateway to Keil's Den in Upper Largo (Fife Photo Agency)
The gateway to Keil's Den in Upper Largo (Fife Photo Agency)
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Environmental bosses are continuing investigations into contamination of the water at Keil’s Burn in one of the area’s most popular walking spots.

Members of the public were urged not to walk dogs at the location, in Keil’s Den, while the probe was under way into a foul-smelling impurity which recently blighted the water.

It was thought at first to be raw sewage, but studies by Scottish Water and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) appear to have ruled that out.

Largo Area Community Council chairman Peter Aitken said there was a lot of concern in the neighbouring villages over the incident, particularly as local people had played such a significant part in securing Keil’s Den for the Woodland Trust, which owns and manages the site.

The Den was bought by the Trust in 1992 after residents raised three-quarters of the money in just two weeks.

One resident said the burn area – where a brand new footbridge was recently opened – had become “a very unpleasant place” because of the incident but the water was looking cleaner now and it seemed to be improving gradually.

It was understood a vegetation spillage had caused fungal development in the water, while there was a considerable silt on the bed of the burn.

Another resident, from Upper Largo, who preferred not to be named, said the situation was “dreadful”.

She added: “I first noticed the water seemed a bit odd a couple of weeks ago; a dark brown colour and with what looked like froth collecting in bits.

“Then last week I was told by another dog owner that the burn had been polluted, fish had died, and there was a warning about keeping dogs away from the water.

“I walk my dog here a couple of times a week and I shudder to think what might have happened had he drunk the water, which could have happened as he normally likes to play in it.

“There was a dead deer by the side of the burn at the top of the Den about three weeks ago,” added the resident.

“I thought it had maybe been hit by a car but now you wonder if it had maybe been poisoned by the water.”

A SEPA spokesman said he could not comment extensively as investigations were under way.

However, he told the Mail: “SEPA is aware of a pollution incident on agricultural land near Upper Largo, which has affected a stretch of the Keil Burn, and a thorough inspection of the site has been carried out.

“SEPA officers have been in regular contact with the landowner to ensure measures 
are in place to address the immediate risk of pollution, while investigations are ongoing to assess the impact of 
the incident on the watercourse.”