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Water quality of the Châteauguay River: a study reveals that swimming is possible!


Montreal February 17, 2022 – Fondation Rivières and the Society for the conservation and development of watersheds in the Châteauguay area (SCABRIC) make public the results of an unprecedented study on the swimming potential in the Châteauguay River. This study reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the water of the Châteauguay River is perfectly suitable for swimming. 

THEyouude allows conclude that: 

  • In dry weather, the bacteriological quality of the water in the Châteauguay River is generally very good, even excellent in certain places;
  • Only the sector downstream of the river (City of Châteauguay) seems to present a risk of contamination in dry weather, therefore during the summer.

For three months last summer, the two organizations ensured continuous monitoring of water quality on nearly 55 km of river by evaluating 10 potential swimming sites with the support of the municipalities of Châteauguay, Mercier, Sainte -Martine, Howick, Ormstown, Dewittville and Huntingdon.

The general director of Fondation Rivières, Mr. André Bélanger, is not surprised by the results of the study. “Citizens tend to associate brown water with pollution when this is not necessarily the case. In 2020, it was demonstrated that the water in the L'Assomption River was of good quality for swimming. Today, the City operates an extremely popular public beach there in complete safety.”

The general director of SCABRIC, Mr. Félix Blackburn, hopes that this study will serve as an inspiration to other riverside municipalities elsewhere in Quebec: “It is a model of collaboration at the watershed scale. Almost all the municipalities along the river collaborated on the project and we are particularly proud of it.”

The project

Fondation Rivières carried out hybrid monitoring of the water quality of the river, using both traditional analyzes ofE.coli in the laboratory and a new rapid analysis technology, the ColiMinder. The device can detect in 15 minutes the presence ofE.coli in water by enzymatic analysis and to automate monitoring by allowing sampling at a high frequency and access to the results via an online platform. This hybrid monitoring methodology, coupled with intensive field work, made it possible to draw up a portrait of the bacteriological quality of the water over 55 km of the river. Water quality monitoring was carried out for twelve weeks between July and September 2021.

About Fondation Rivières

For 20 years, Fondation Rivières has worked to preserve, restore and enhance the natural character of rivers and contributes to ensuring water quality and access to water for the Quebec population, taking into account social and environmental dimensions. and economic. She carries out studies on bacteriological quality for different municipalities, including L'Assomption, Saint-Jérôme and Montreal.


The Châteauguay Zone Watershed Conservation and Development Society (SCABRIC) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1993 which is dedicated to improving the quality of water and soil in the Châteauguay Zone basins. . Its mandate is to ensure the implementation of integrated water management by watershed (GIEBV) in the territory.

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Documents to consult :
Full study report

For informations :

Christian Généreux
Responsible for communications, development and mobilization
514 272-2666, ext. 302

Photo: Christophe Gravel


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