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With environmental laws, should I just remove the macerator or bypass it?

Apr 8, 2013
5
Catalina Catalina 25 Shattemuc Yacht Club, Ossining, NY
Purchased a Catalina 30 and I am slowly replacing the water and black water systems.
A new macerator seems senseless if I can't use. Should remove it and bypass it?
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,823
- - LIttle Rock
Depends on where you plan to cruise. If you plan to do any distance cruising offshore beyond 3 miles--Bermuda or the Caribbean maybe--you'll be able to use a macerator pump to dump the tank at sea/ But if you're planning to cruise only coastal waters, then you don't need it. If your plans change, it's easy to add a macerator later.
Before you get too deeply into replacing your black water systems, you might want to check out the link in my signature. A lot of good information in it that will make the job a lot easier and help you get it all right the first time...'cuz that's a job nobody ever wants to do but once!
 
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Apr 8, 2013
5
Catalina Catalina 25 Shattemuc Yacht Club, Ossining, NY
Peggie,
Thanks. I may keep the old, non-working one in place. One other question. I read
a number of posts about cleaning the tank air tube that leads under one of the safety line
stanchions. Do you get to this by removing the stanchion or pulling the tube from underneath?
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,426
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
We have also had situations where the local pumpout was broken for over a month waiting on parts. We had to go out and discharge or our tank would be overflowing .
 
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Jul 12, 2011
808
Catalina 36 Bay City, MI
The Catalina through-stanchion tank vent is one of the worst designs in history, and it's no wonder other builders never copied it. Easiest way to clean it is any semi-stiff rat-tail brush, like used to clean out pipes. That stanchion has a 1/2 inch tube out the bottom extending about 2.5 inches through the deck and connected to a plastic vent tube. I had an old brush to clean scale from an iron that was basically twisted wire with nylon bristles. Shove it in from the top, and work it around. This is a favorite nesting place for little spiders, and other web-builders. One of my first projects was to remove the stanchion, fill the deck with fiberglass and wood, and install a standard mushroom fitting below the rub rail. I just bent the flexible vent hose to out out, not up.
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
There seems to be a usage protocol for the vane-type tank discharge macerators. They lockup if you don’t sufficiently flush them with clear water and discharge the ‘grout’ that can settle into the vanes of the pump. I see folks having to replace pumps way too often and suspect they don’t operate them properly. It seems like a diaphragm-style pump is a better application for this use.
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,823
- - LIttle Rock
Don't be too hard on Catalina, Parsons...running water and fuel tank vent lines into stanchions is actually a good idea because it keeps sea water out of them. It works so well that when it became necessary to install holding tanks, it never occurred to Catalina to do it any other way...'cuz like most boat builders, they didn't realize that--unlike fuel and water--sewage can't just be held, it has to be managed. And--unlike fuel and water--a little sea water in sewage won't matter. It took 'em about 20 years to finally start running holding tank vents to thru-hulls.

DC...If you're replacing hoses, why would you keep equipment that doesn't work in the system?? Get rid of the dead macerator and either replace it with a new one or leave it out entirely. And btw...if you're replacing hoses, replace ALL the hoses. It's not a job that should be done piecemeal.

As for your tank vent line...Do what Parsons did: install an open bulkhead or "mushroom" thru-hull (one you can stick your finger into) in the hull just below the toe rail and re-route the vent line to it. The open thru-hull instead of a "vent" thru-hull has two advantages: 1. allows a lot more air exchange with the gasses in the tank, which helps to keep the tank aerobic--the key to preventing odor (explained in detail in my book)...and 2. Is a thru-hull you can stick hose nozzle up against and backflush the vent line every time you wash the boat, which prevents vent blockages.
 
Jun 8, 2004
2,441
Catalina 320 Dana Point
Macerator pumps freeze up from non-use, usually a slot in the shaft so you can turn it to free up and it may work again, for a while.
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,823
- - LIttle Rock
Macerator pumps freeze up from non-use, usually a slot in the shaft so you can turn it to free up and it may work again, for a while.
Waste is sticky...so if a macerator pump hasn't been thoroughly rinsed out--which they rarely are--before the boat sits, the impeller vanes get stuck to the housing. Startup almost always cracks a vane or even sometime breaks off a piece. Using a screwdriver blade in the slot may get it to run, but it can't pull waste out of the tank. So if you try freeing it up, best to change the impeller if that gets it running again.
Electric diaphragm pumps are more expensive than macerator pumps, but they never need new impellers and last for a decade or longer.
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
2,730
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Timely question as I was wondering the same thing. The survey for my 93 C30 said I need to lockout the thru hull for the discharge. I was thinking I'll never need it, our county runs pump out boats up and down the bay, I should just remove the macerator and hose to the thru hull, plug the thru hull and be done with it.
Thanks
 
May 20, 2016
2,961
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
@Ward H around here a Zip tie qualifies as a lock. And I keep my Y valve locked into the deck fitting position.

Les
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,292
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
If I weren't on a lake or other strict no discharge zone I would keep the macerator. As JK... says sometimes pump out isn't available. That's a reality. The calls of nature are also a reality. You can only put a cork in it for so long.
 
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Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
2,730
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@LeslieTroyer
around here a Zip tie qualifies as a lock. And I keep my Y valve locked into the deck fitting position.
That would be much easier. I'll have to ask around to see if it would qualify in our area. I looked and did not see a Y valve. There has to be one, right? I probably missed it.
 
Sep 11, 2015
145
Hunter 31 Marina del Rey
I never understood the benefit of macerators c.f. to diaphragm pumps. The latter is simpler, more reliable, takes less space, no need for power, rarely breaks and in an emergency you can use it as an extra bilge pump, OK in a real emergency but still. I would install one of those.
 
May 20, 2016
2,961
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
I have a whale diagram pump to empty the holding tank when legally allowed. It will come in handy when going around Vancouver Island.

Les
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,438
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Hey @dcwestcott, I live in your area, and have a friend at your club (BG, a former commodore). Been there many times. Get Peggie’s book. It’s not too thick, and it’s an easy read/reference.
All the above advice is good, especially the diaphragm pump. (I’ve replaced holding tank and hoses on 2 boats, and that’s what I did). Macerator pumps are a horrible design, and running them dry destroys them quickly, but it’s hard to know when to shut them off so don’t buy that garbage.
Whether you plan to keep the boat long term or sell it, a non-functioning pump is a liability whether you need to use it or not. It will come up in a survey, and you’ll pay for it when you sell, so pay for it now and have the use of it, if needed.
Maybe you plan to limit your sailing to the Hudson, LIS and Rhode Island coastal, but you’re not that far from the ocean.
 
Apr 8, 2013
5
Catalina Catalina 25 Shattemuc Yacht Club, Ossining, NY
Thanks for all this good information. I will pick up a copy of Peggie's book. What's the title of it?
My boat was on the hard for 3 years before I purchased it, so its taken 2 years to bring it back and I'm just
getting to the plumbing after replacing all sheets, furler, water pump, fuel filters, oil filter and engine cables. I will be back to ask more questions about my cockpit control panel.