, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 257–274 | Cite as

Effects of a major municipal effluent on the St. Lawrence River: A case study

  • David J. Marcogliese
  • Christian Blaise
  • Daniel Cyr
  • Yves de Lafontaine
  • Michel Fournier
  • François Gagné
  • Christian Gagnon
  • Christiane Hudon


The St. Lawrence River (SLR) is the second largest waterway in North America. The discharge of the City of Montreal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) represents the largest volume of treated wastewaters being released into the river. It also ranks as the largest sewage treatment plant of its kind in North America. Over the last decade, intensive multidisciplinary research has focused on assessing the impacts of Montreal wastewater effluents on the SLR. We describe the major findings of these investigations, including the determination of the fate of contaminants, bioaccumulation in fish and invertebrates, ecotoxicological measurements of aquatic animal health, evaluation of endocrine disruption, parasitism in fish, and combined effects of multiple stressors on the SLR. Impacts of the effluents from the WWTP on aquatic organisms from the SLR are both toxicological and ecological, demonstrating the need for an integrated view of the impacts of municipal effluents on aquatic ecosystems.


Municipal effluents Ecotoxicology Rivers Pollution Contaminants Aquatic animal health 



Funding for this research was provided by Environment Canada’s St. Lawrence Action Plan and Chemical Management Plan, the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centers, and the Canada Research Chair in Immunotoxicology. Numerous technical staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students worked on the various studies. In particular, the authors wish to thank Michel Arseneau, Germain Brault, Jean-Pierre Cloutier, Simon-Pierre Despatie, Andrée Gendron, Andre Lajeunesse, Claude Lessard, Sophie Trépanier, and Patrice Turcotte for their technical and professional assistance in the field and in the laboratory. The comments of two anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Marcogliese
    • 1
  • Christian Blaise
    • 2
  • Daniel Cyr
    • 3
  • Yves de Lafontaine
    • 4
  • Michel Fournier
    • 3
  • François Gagné
    • 2
  • Christian Gagnon
    • 2
  • Christiane Hudon
    • 1
  1. 1.Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, St. Lawrence CentreEnvironment CanadaMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, St. Lawrence CentreEnvironment CanadaMontrealCanada
  3. 3.INRS-Institut Armand FrappierUniversité du QuébecLavalCanada
  4. 4.Sciences Directorate, Quebec Region, Fisheries and Oceans CanadaInstitut Maurice-LamontagneMont-JoliCanada

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