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Why a Boat Macerator Won't Work

Updated July 20, 2017

A macerator in a boat's holding tank grinds solid wastes from the toilet so that they are easier to flush. Although it usually functions well, at times problems can arise.

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Gunk Behind Cutter Blades

The bronze cutter blades that grind up solids can be hampered by materials that have no business in the holding tank. Paper, hair and fibres can muck up the works.

A Broken or Weak Impeller

An impeller urges the slurry of liquefied waste toward the holding tank's exit. If it becomes sluggish or broken, a messy backup can develop in the toilet. If the macerator is dry for long periods, the impeller could seize.


Obstructions in the pipes create havoc. After the macerator is disassembled, cloth, glass, paper towels or kitchen sponges are often found to be the problem.

Electrical Malfunction

When the macerator is switched on and nothing happens, the problem could lie in an electrical short or corroded wiring. Many times a blown fuse needs replacement.

The Wrong Toilet Paper

Bacteria disintegrate solid waste in a holding tank. As the saying goes, "Don't put it in here if it ain't been et yet." If toilet paper is not biodegradable, it could clog pipes.

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About the Author

Nancy E. Spraker is a writer/copy editor with more than 20 years of experience in publishing. Her name appears in the magazines "SAIL," "Latitudes & Attitudes," "Southern Boating," "The AutoPILOT" and "Women in Aviation." Her education includes a B.A. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Arts in professional writing from Kennesaw State University.

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