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Rivière du Nord – Water quality monitoring, phase 2

Rivière du Nord – Monitoring water quality and detecting sources of pollution, phase 2

To make the Rivière du Nord a recreational tourism hub in the Laurentians

The surroundings of the Rivière du Nord occupy an important place in the recreational tourism industry of the Laurentians, but the potential of the river itself is not fully exploited. The towns of Prévost and Saint-Jérôme wish to offer their population access to quality water for fishing, swimming or non-motorized water activities (canoeing, kayaking, etc.).

Thanks to funding from Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as part of the Support for regional outreach component of the Regions and Rurality Fund and with the participation of the Cities of Prévost and Saint-Jérôme, the Fondation Rivières carried out field screening activities during the summer of 2022 as well as an assessment of the recreational tourism potential along the Rivière du Nord.

Already, a study carried out in Saint-Jérôme in 2021 by the Fondation Rivières had made it possible to identify and report certain sources of fecal pollution in the Rivière du Nord. Data collected by the Abrinord watershed organization suggests other sources of contamination upstream of Prévost.


Partners and collaborators

Rivière du Nord - Crédit : Fondation Rivières
Waterfront area on Leblanc Street in Prévost. Photo: Fondation Rivières

Our methodology

Sites evaluated
Sources of contamination identified

The potential for swimming and water activities was assessed on the basis of the bacteriological quality of the water, by counting of Escherichia coli (E. coli), also taking into account the ease of launching and access to the sites. Fondation Rivières collected surface water samples at least twice a week at four sites of interest.

Duration of the study

Sampling took place from July 14 to September 2, 2022.



Water quality was generally adequate for water activities.


The water quality threshold for swimming was frequently exceeded, even in the absence of heavy rain.


Recent improvements made to the Sainte-Adèle (Mont-Rolland) station disinfection system should make it possible to eliminate most of the unpredictable contamination spikes.

The section of the Rivière du Nord between Prévost and upstream of downtown Saint-Jérôme has very good potential for nautical activities. However, the swimming potential is non-existent due to municipal wastewater discharges upstream. 

Towards better water quality?

Since the study was carried out, improvements have been made to the disinfection system of the Sainte-Adèle wastewater treatment plant in the Mont-Rolland sector. The City now carries out monthly cleaning of UV lamps, which should improve the efficiency of treatment of water discharged into the river. As the unpredictable releases of fecal coliforms from this station represented the main source of contamination during the summer of 2022, we can hope that these changes will improve the water quality of the Rivière du Nord, and perhaps even be able to ensure the potential for swimming in dry weather!

Do you make decisions within your municipality?

Consult the guide to opening an urban swimming site to find out how the Fondation Rivières can help you.

Plage de Verdun
Verdun beach in summer 2021

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