Chief of Operations writes:


3/14/16 The temperature has held near 33 degrees all day and the sap is barely weeping out of the lines entering the sap shed. The temperature is supposed to rise during the night and I know a better run is coming.


3/15/16 I check the sap shed at midnight and 2:00 a.m. but nothing has changed. At 4:00 a.m. the temperature has risen to 34 degrees, but the run looks no better, the tanks are only 20% full, and I decide it’s time to get at least three or four hours of uninterrupted sleep.

At 8:30 I am awakened from my power nap by the sound of the sap shed release pump cycling at frequent intervals. Scurrying out, I see the tanks are overflowing. I run to the sugarhouse to start the RO machine, which concentrates the sap.

Upon entering I find the front canning room flooded. I immediately check the water feed plumbing lines under the sink but they are fine. I notice the water seems to be coming from the RO room, though I can’t imagine the source as the permeate and concentrate tanks are empty, and the sap tanks wouldn’t be overflowing if they were leaking into the RO room.

I thoroughly check all the many plumbing connections and ball valves in the RO room but can find no leaks. And then my eyes snag on the breaker box, which is dripping! How, I ask myself, is it possible the electrical box could be filling with water?

And suddenly my inner alarm starts blinking as I am standing in an inch of water coming out of the electrical source for the whole building. Fearing electrocution, I don rubber gloves and awkwardly stand with one foot on the raised door threshold and the other on the RO wash tank as I carefully unscrew the box cover.

I am relieved to see the upper part of the box, where all the electrical connections are, is dry. The problem is at the bottom of the box where two conduits enter. The one housing the power feed lines is dry, but there is a fountain of water coming out of the other that supplies power to the sap shed.  I am again at a loss trying to imagine how such a flood of water could be getting into that conduit.

Broken conduit
Broken conduit

I hurry back to the sap shed looking for an answer to this riddle, and there my eyes quickly latch onto the solution. The conduit had separated from a joint where it entered under the shed’s raised floor, and the overflowing tanks were spilling directly into it.

Sometimes real life is more convoluted than anything you could dream up.






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