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Oily Water/Bilge Water

Oily Water/Bilge Water

Every boat has bilge water, most boats have oily bilge water and every boater should know how to dispose of it properly. For many, oily bilge water is an unavoidable problem, but keep reading and you’ll find some solutions.

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Facilities

How do I go green?


Try not to let the bilge pump dispose of your oily bilge water for you. The oil slick you leave behind not only looks bad, it also harms the environment and is a criminal offence. Use absorbent bilge pads, available at most marine stores, to line your hull. These pads will absorb the oil, but not the water. Also, keep in mind that the soap or bilge cleaner you’re using may also be harmful to the environment. Soaps and cleaners do nothing to mitigate the harmful effects of oil or gas in the water. Instead, they spread the hazardous waste out over a larger area, thereby affecting even more of the shoreline.


You can reuse your absorbent bilge pads after you wring them out (see Recycle below).


Put on some gloves and squeeze that oil out of your absorbent bilge pads into a container, then take it in to your marina or mechanic to be recycled.


  • Envirosystems

    825 Admirals Road

  • JOMA Environmental Ltd. (pick-up service only)


  • Terrapure Environmental

    All locations in capital region


  • The Environmental Story

    Most boats have an automatic bilge pump to prevent them from sinking when water collects in the hull.  Unfortunately, like a car, a marine engine, when in operation, often drips oil into that bilge water, creating a messy problem. Your oily bilge water is considered hazardous waste so treat it with the caution it warrants.  Ask the attendant at your local fuel dock or your marine mechanic where they dispose of their oily bilge water.  Many marinas will have facilities on site or can recommend a solution for you. If you still need help, there are also a number of local companies who will collect and dispose of bilge water for you.  Check out these websites for more green boating tips:
    Discover Boating
    BC Used Oil Management Association