Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

Water points and sewage disposal

You'll find water points at various places along the canals and rivers, along with toilets and special units for emptying Elsans and Portapottis.

To use toilets and empty Elsans and Portapottis

You'll need the standard Canal & River Trust Yale key, available from our shop.

To use our pump out services

You’ll need more sophisticated pump out services if your boat has a holding tank. This is not covered by your licence fee. To use our self-service machines you can now pay for this service at the pump by card payment.

Please follow the instructions carefully. Part of the reason the cost of the cards remains high are the number of breakdowns from mis-using the equipment.

Never use a free-standing pump to pump out your tank into an Elsan disposal point. These simply don't have the capacity and there's a high risk of spillage. Polluting the canalside with raw sewage is a very serious offence, as well as a health hazard.

It may be easier to buy the service from a boatyard or marina, where someone will do the dirty work for you for a very reasonable fee.

Find a pump out

You can find our elsans and pumpouts by zooming into any of our maps showing your location. Click the red 'i' icon on the bottom right of the map to bring up the icon key.

You can also download a list of non-Trust operated pumpouts or find other local business on our Local to You pages.

Separator toilets

(also know as waterless or compost toilets)

If you're considering getting a separator/compost toilet for your boat, please only do so if you have the ability to completely compost the solid waste from your toilet yourself or have access to somewhere that will do this for you.

If you don't have the ability to do this, then getting a composting/separator toilet is not the best solution for you. Pump out and elsan facilities are available across our network that boats with tanks or cassette toilets can use instead.

If you currently have a separator/compost toilet on your boat and are not able to completely compost the solid waste from your toilet yourself or have access to somewhere that will do it for you, then the alternative disposal method of bagging and binning it is not an environmentally sustainable way to deal with this waste. Bagged solid waste disposed of in bins can also lead to cross contamination of other content, which otherwise is sorted and mostly recycled, and can require that the whole content of the bin needing to be disposed of in landfill. Sending waste to landfill adds costs as landfill taxes are charged.

If you have a separator/compost toilet on your boat and have been putting bagged and binned waste in our waste bins, you need to find an alternative way to dispose of this waste. We appreciate that you might not be able to do this straight away, and in the interim small quantities of securely bagged waste can be disposed of in Trust bins if there is no alternative.

We respectfully ask that you only do this as a last resort. From the end of December 2021 we request that no bagged solid waste from separator/compost toilets is disposed of in Canal & River Trust waste bins. We will continue to work with boaters and others to identify a sustainable solution for the disposal of this waste.

Last Edited: 18 March 2024

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration