Waste away!

Sea-farers around Falmouth are being urged to pump out waste from their vessels using Falmouth Harbours’ newly installed black-water reception facility – rather than dumping it into the sea.

The £19,000 investment at North Quay aims to curb the amount of raw sewage pollution by the many craft which use the waters of Falmouth Bay, Falmouth Harbour and the Carrick Roads each year – which poses a threat to sealife and eco-systems as well as public health.

Any boat or craft with a holding tank can pump-out using the waste water station, which directs effluent into the sewerage system to be appropriately treated by South West Water. The service is free to all Falmouth Haven berth and mooring customers, while other users will be asked to spend just £12 a pump to help cover running costs.

It has been among the key environmental investments on the agenda for Falmouth Harbour with their ambition – shared with other Maritime organisations – to transform Falmouth into an increasingly sustainable area through reduction of impacts.

“It’s obvious that pumping sewage from a boat into the sea is bad for our beautiful natural environment as well as for people and wildlife – especially when vessels are gathered in high concentrations,” says Falmouth Harbour’s Environment Manager Vicki Spooner. “Our new black water pump-out station goes some way to addressing this problem, although we’d urge owners of smaller or older vessels which don’t have a holding tank to avoid using their onboard heads: use land-based toilet facilities wherever possible!”

Falmouth joins Fowey and Padstow as the Cornish entries on “The Green Blue’s Pump-Out Directory” map of environmental facilities at inland and coastal marinas, boatyards and harbours around the UK, found at  https://thegreenblue.org.uk/resources/boat-user-resources/marine-facilities/

The joint environmental programme between the RYA and British Marine, has clear advice for water users about the effects of discharging sewage and chemicals from vessels into the sea – along with an entertaining animation on the subject developed by Litter Free Coast and Sea as part of the ‘Love Your Harbour’ campaign – all found at https://thegreenblue.org.uk/you-your-boat/info-advice/water-pollution-prevention/sewage/

Kate Fortnam from The Green Blue welcomes the installation of Falmouth Harbour’s new pumping station and says, “With more and more of us taking to the water each year it is important we all know how to deal with our waste in a responsible manner. It’s no longer acceptable to pump waste out whenever and wherever it suits and it is our responsibility to consider the effects this may have on the surrounding environment and users. It is encouraging to see more pump out facilities being installed by harbours to enable the boating community to help safeguard our environment.”

Access to Falmouth Harbours’ pump-out facility on North Quay is tidal so users should call the Falmouth Haven team on 01326 310990 to book an appointment. Details of a vessel, including its draft, will be taken to ensure there is enough water to complete the pump-out safely.

Falmouth Harbour Chief Executive Miles Carden says, “We very much want boat owners to use this new facility to reduce the amount of sewage pollution and bacteria entering local waters where nutrient loading is already high.

“It’s helping to protect sea life and water quality – and clearly it’s far more sanitary to dispose of black water into the sewer where it gets properly treated.”

The use of sea toilets has long been banned for vessels berthed at the Falmouth Haven Marina, with boat owners encouraged to use the amenity block and, now, the black water pump out facilities rather than disposing of any waste further out at sea. The pump out facility cannot be used to pump out bilges – but the Falmouth Haven team can advise on the correct disposal of bilge-water onshore.


For detailed information on the work and services of Falmouth Harbour www.falmouthharbour.co.uk  or call the Falmouth Haven team on 01326 310990.

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