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Mastering The Macerator


Friday night

Okay, I've pretty much calmed down now. I've been sitting outside, drinking a meditative beer, watching a fine quarter moon move across the western sky. I'm not lunatic enough at the moment to know whether it's waning or waxing. I'm afraid I used up all the lunacy available to me this afternoon, installing my new sewage pump.

I began innocently enough, drawing out what I wanted, making a list of parts: 1 inch vinyl hose, 50 feet of 10 AWG wire, a DC switch, assorted connectors.


I couldn't see a safe way to permanently mount it to the trailer, so I used a scrap piece of wire shelving for a portable platform.


I ran power from my inverter to a plug I found at NAPA, originally intended for extending alternator wiring, and hung the female end from the external plastic access panel to my refrigerator. It is barely visible. The male end went on the pump, at the end of 15 feet of power line so I can move the contraption around to the full length of my waste slinky.


Everything hooked up. I'm getting good at this stuff. Time for the Test.

Three inch slinky from tank to pump - check.

Waste valve open - check.

Slinky full of crap -check.

Garden hose extension run to sewer connection - check.

Turn on the pump, which whirrs merrily away. Check.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Nothing's coming out!

O Nooooooooo!!!!!!

It was just at that moment that I remembered the pump was shipped with a little plastic plug in the intake, which I had noticed but failed to remove. Okay, now, I know I have a bucket around here somewhere.

Hope it's big enough.

Five minutes later:

Intake plug removed, slinky back in place. The driveway is a bit more fragrant than I'd like, and so am I, but that'll all clean up. Everything ready now?

Looks a little like poetry, doesn't it?

Contact. Ah, progress.
Sometimes shit does flow up hill. Wait. No. No.

O Nooooooo!!!!!

The heavy duty hose I ordered with the pump, which smugly advertised "rubber cuffs on either end, which allow for push on connection, no clamps required", came loose from the vinyl hose in two places, spewing fertilizer everywhere before I could splash in there and turn off the pump.


Well. An hour and four hose clamps later, I think everything is in order. A proper test will take another week or so. I only had about 30 gallons of the precious stuff to test with, and that's mostly watered into the lawn now. Mostly. I've been showered and scrubbed. And scrubbed. Everything I was wearing has been through the wash cycle. Including my shoes. I even managed to get the sticky bits of toilet paper off my glasses without scratching the lenses.

Perhaps I am permitted a Two Beer Moment. It is a nice Moon.

The lessons here are obvious, in retrospect. Aren't they always? When you are dealing with sewage, the slightest misstep will land you in deep shit. That's also a natural consequence of having your head up your ass. I would suggest (ah, wisdom) testing the system with clear water first. And at that ultimate moment, be sure to keep your mouth closed.

A good-sized bucket might come in handy, too.

I figure most of the time I will want to dump by gravity in the usual way. No muss, no fuss, and quickly done. Occasionally, however, it may be good to empty the tanks uphill into a toilet, or the back of my brother's truck.

Here at home, I will no longer have to move the trailer every 10 days or so. The unavoidable practical problem, though, even when things go well, is that it takes a good bit of clear water to clean the smell out of the pump - not to mention the drain hose. When boondocking, as is my wont, that much water may not always be readily available. So I may have just spent around 200 bucks for something that will only be rarely used.

But no doubt I'm a better person for it.


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