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Water quality in the Chambly basin: a study reveals very good swimming potential


Montreal on June 12, 2023 – In this Water Month, Fondation Rivières and the City of Chambly are making public the results of a study which reveals that the water quality in the Chambly basin has very good swimming potential in dry weather. The results of this first portrait of the microbiological quality of the water in the basin open the way to new uses of the river, while respecting the environment.

Encouraging results

In dry weather, Quebec bathing standards, established at 200 CFU/100 mL, were reached 87 % of the time for the two sites studied: the Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center and the municipal wharf. A period of dry weather corresponds to any day for which precipitation over the last three days, including the current day, is less than 5 mm. However, in rainy weather, the water quality deteriorates and is not suitable for swimming, since wastewater overflows can occur, as is the case in many places in Quebec.

The Chambly basin is popular with fans of motorized and non-motorized water sports. In this regard, the study confirms that in dry weather, water quality standards for non-contact water activities (1,000 CFU/100 mL in Quebec) have always been respected at both sites. 'study. In rainy weather, fans of non-motorized water sports are protected given the closure of the Nautical Center. 

A study consistent with the Chambly guidelines

In its 2022 Environmental Policy, the City of Chambly is committed to monitoring the quality of water on its territory and facilitating access to it. Monitoring of water quality will continue at the Nautical Center to ensure the safety of users, in addition to the awareness and monitoring efforts put in place to preserve this resource.

“The City of Chambly has adopted an environmental policy and an ambitious action plan, focused on the implementation of numerous actions surrounding the protection of the quality of waterways and banks. It is a priority for the municipal council, to put forward everything possible, in order to protect vital essential resources,” specifies Alexandra Labbé, mayor of the City of Chambly.

It is important to specify that the City of Chambly will continue its efforts annually to control water quality, through the analysis of water samples taken at the Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center and in front of the municipal wharf.

For better sharing of the Richelieu River

Faced with the lack of public access to water in the Richelieu River, the Fondation Rivières was mandated by the City of Chambly to validate the swimming possibilities in its basin. “This study opens the way to sharing the river between its different users. The Richelieu is currently very popular with motorboat boaters, which has the effect of accelerating the erosion of the banks, among other things. A swimming area would allow the population to enjoy the river differently while limiting the impacts on its integrity. », Says the general director of Fondation Rivières, André Bélanger.

There is currently only one public beach intended for swimming on the Richelieu River, located in Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix.

A Big Splash in Chambly this summer

To demonstrate its commitment to continuing and improving its efforts to protect the Richelieu River, to highlight its recreational nautical potential and to provide possible safe access to its population, the City of Chambly will hold a Grand Splash at the Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center this summer. 

Led by the Fondation Rivières, the Grand Splash is a form of event which aims to democratize access to waterways. The population is invited to get into the water in safe places, which do not have the status of public access to water, but which have the potential to become so.


The Fondation Rivières, supported by the Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center team, took samples at two regular monitoring sites (Gervais-Désourdy Nautical Center and municipal quay) between June 6 and August 25, 2022. It also carried out screening tours on 29 sites around the Chambly basin, between June 28 and September 10. The analysis was carried out on the basis of the enumeration ofEscherichia coli (E.coli).

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Sophie Lachance

Sophie Lachance

Communications and Mobilization Manager
Fondation Rivières
514-272-2666, ext. 307

Marie-Hélène Latreille
Communications advisor
City of Chambly
450 658-8788

Photo: Chambly Basin by the Fondation Rivières

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