Local Councillor Brendan Coffey said the old tannery site in Portlaw was contaminated with chemicals which were seeping into the Clodiagh River.

The status of the rare fresh water pearl mussels in the Licky and Clodiagh rivers in County Waterford were described as under threat and ‘failing’ in two new reports on river management considered by Waterford County Council last week.

The Licky pearl mussels have been “downgraded” due to water quality conditions.

The population was failing due to the deterioration in its habitat quality which was evident from high levels of siltation, according to the South Western River Basin Management Plan (2009-2015) which was presented to the Council.

The Licky River had small numbers of adult mussels from historical records and very few juveniles.

A threat to the pearl muscles in the Licky was one of the main reasons for the refusal of planning for the proposed ‘super dump’ at Garrynagree between Dungarvan and Old Parish.

Current evidence also suggested that the pearl mussel population in the Clodiagh River (that runs through Clonea, Curraghmore and Portlaw) was failing.

A profile of the stock suggested that there were not the number of juveniles present to provide substantial replacement of the current adult numbers.

The quality of their habitat was also failing and had shown to be inadequate since 2006, it was stated in the South East River Basin Management Report.

See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.