Water quality issues : pesticides

Pesticides are largely used in agricultural settings, and to a lesser extent, in urban areas. They can be transported into water bodies where they pose a risk to aquatic life. Scientists from Environment and Climate change Canada’s Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance programme assess the presence of various pesticides and their levels in selected ecosystems.

Web articles

Presence of pesticides in the Nelson River watershed between 2006 and 2011

This territory includes 70% of the land dedicated to the agriculture in Canada. Due to the vast expanse of cultivated land, more pesticides are used in the Prairies than in any other region in Canada. Aquatic ecosystems are therefore becoming vulnerable to pesticide contamination.

Domestic herbicides detected in water

Pesticides are known to be found in streams and rivers near farms, but could they also be in urban waterways?

Pesticides in selected Canadian Aquatic Ecosystems, Highlights 2003-05 (2011)

A nation-wide study was conducted from 2003 to 2005 based on the findings of an analysis of 141 current-use pesticides, including their transformation products. In total, samples were taken from approximately 140 sites in about 15 watersheds of various sizes during this period. Here are a few highlights of the program's findings.

Pesticides are Entering the St. Lawrence River through Its Tributaries (2010)

A number of pesticides are present in the water of the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City and at the mouths of some tributaries of Lake Saint-Pierre. This is what scientists at Environment Canada and Climate change have observed since 2003.

Technical summaries, reports and scientific papers

Occurrence and Distribution of Carbamate Pesticides and Metalaxyl in Southern Ontario Surface Waters 2007-2010

Surface water sampling in 2007-2010 measured the occurence of carbamates and metalaxyl in southern Ontario surface waters.

Household Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides Indicator

This report is released under the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative. It addresses the underlying methods and data for the Household Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides indicator as published on the CESI website.

Presence and Levels of Priority Pesticides in Selected Canadian Aquatic Ecosystem (2011)

This report represents the culmination of Canada’s first National Water Quality Surveillance Program focused on current-use pesticides in vulnerable aquatic ecosystems and source waters. Funded by Environment Canada’s Pesticide Science Fund, the surveillance program was conducted over a period of three years from 2003 to 2005.

Pesticides at the Mouths of Lake Saint-Pierre Tributaries 2003-2008 (2011)

The present report reveals data on pesticides originating from agriculture in three major watersheds south of Lake Saint-Pierre where corn and soy are intensively grown. The watersheds studied include those of the Nicolet, Saint-François, and Yamaska rivers.

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