Improve management tools for contaminated sediment

Contaminated sediments collected at the bottom of the St. Lawrence waters, distant or recent legacy from industrial activities, represent a risk for human health and ecosystems when they are resuspended. Using new scientific knowledge, the governments must update regularly their contaminated sediments management tools, in order to reduce risks associated with contamination.

Learn more about our projects that stem from this orientation.

Assess the ecotoxicological risk and health risk of sites with contaminated sediment as part of restoration projects

Sediment quality is assessed through comparison with numerical criteria. However, comprehensive assessment also requires the use of more specific tools for informing management decisions. First, the development of an assessment methodology for characterizing the ecotoxicological risk of projects in sediment management will assist in gauging the ecotoxicological risk associated with sediment management. Next, the project will enable development of a methodology for assessing the risk to human health through use of sediment exposure criteria and definition of the exposure pathways specific to the sites with contaminated sediment.

Read the backgrounder for this project. Read also the Ecological Risk Assessment of Open-Water Sediment Disposal to Support the Management of Freshwater Dredging Projects guide.

Develop a toxicity test to asses the sediments in the brackish water zone of the St.Lawrence

The project involves defining toxicity tests that can be used to assess the potential impact of sediment dredging or dumping in the brackish waters of the St. Lawrence downstream of Île d'Orléans.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Identify the key environmental issues related to the targeted areas of contaminated sediment

  A review of the Criteria for the Assessment of Sediment Quality in Quebec allows a targeting of the sectors of the St. Lawrence where sediment quality is an issue of concern. The issues in terms of various types of exposure to contaminated sediment, both for the ecosystem and humans, will be defined. Finally, the definition and documentation of these issues could assist in prioritizing actions throughout the St. Lawrence and focusing the various restoration activities carried out within specific sectors. 

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Develop a joint decision making framework (federal-provincial) for the management of sites with contaminated sediment

This framework will serve in defining the necessary timing and conditions for sediment decontamination as well as determining the various solutions to the problems identified. This project will assist in prioritizing sectors associated with the greatest potential benefits of sediment restoration efforts for the ecosystem while also taking into account current regulations and the impact of decontamination (environmental benefits and socioeconomic factors) in terms of cost.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

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