Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Cheese Doctor
As new Cheesemakers it is so easy to dive off the cliff assuming there is water at the bottom. You looked over the edge and saw water; however, so often what you see is a mirage. It looked like water but, it was really dry sand. It is my experience that the entrepreneurial gene/spirit can be flawed. The entrepreneur seems to have the “I’ll figure it out gene”, a gene so powerful that when it’s satisfied, the holder of this gene feels a great sense of achievement. This feeling of achievement is often arrived at in a semi vacuum, where our entrepreneur arrives at his end point and is summing up his project without the benefit of having seen a perfect solution.
It is fine to improvise, be creative and complete the journey by a different route but, the goal is to arrive at the same end point of success. Because the new entrant to the game doesn’t know the perfect solution it is often bliss to proceed with a solution only to find out that it really isn’t working down the road.
Today’s example is drains. It is the humble opening in the floor, the place where water disappears, where scraps are caught, where it may have to meet code or when there is no code simply meets your expectations.
Drain types are many:
There are various specifications for drains. Not all drains are equal but there is one kind of drain that you don’t want in your cheese plant.
The Plastic Trench Drain should be a on a cheese plant ban list. It is designed for storm water in driveways and other simpler applications. The plastic trench drain has been installed in various dairy processing plants all over the USA and invariably they fail. Signs are usually present within one year, fruit flies in one to two years and odors in one to two years.
Why are they still being installed and why do they fail?
The plastic trench drain is made up of sections that don’t seal together allowing liquid to weep through to the base course. Additionally, the plastic expands when hot water is run across the floor separating the drain from the floor. Unfortunately no amount of caulk can seal the edge to the concrete (SS trench drains suffer similar problems). The end result is whey, water, milk and wash solutions making their way down into the base course and becoming a proverbial sewer which must be repaired or replaced with a drain that will eliminate the problem.
This is just one simple example of a new entrant believing they knew how to do something as simple as installing a drain in the floor. In all probability it was not identified as a potential problem by the inspector. It probably met code because it had a P trap under the outlet but it didn’t meet the specification for the application. The new entrant cannot write the specification for his own drain because he doesn’t have the experience to write it. And the example he saw of it in use did not really work either.
We have all done it; life is full of examples where the best research possible did not yield the desired outcome. The lady/personal trainer who went in for a knee replacement, asks all the right people (so she thought) who would be a good surgeon to do the job. When it was a failure those same people said, “sorry, didn’t want to say anything bad about your chosen guy, but we did have reservations”, “didn’t you know the reason he lost his teaching job was because he had too many come backs.” When she spoke with the local attorney she said, “We know him well, you’re not the first.”
Making the right decision is often about getting the right information, dig deep to make sure those who are recommending solutions are not just trying to endorse the decisions they made.
Finally in closing I will share this, in many parts of the world a bell trap/surface trap drain is preferred or required, such a drain forms a trap at the surface near the floor, and in my opinion a well-designed surface trap drain provides the most sanitary installation. However, FDA requires that we have a P Trap beneath every drain installed in a floor, which creates a predicament where placing a surface trap drain over a P Trap will prevent any flow. There are companies who produce vented surface trap drains that meet all the requirements but the additional venting adds cost. If you are purchasing drains they will end up being quite expensive. The tragedy with most approved drains is this: They are required to have a catch basket and block very quickly because of the design. The user removes the basket to eliminate the blockage and guess what all that curd and physical soil that you wanted to keep out of your drain goes right down. This is an example of a rule that doesn’t work.
So what drain should you buy: consult, they range from inexpensive PVC Bell Traps to expensive Stainless Steel items, they each have their merit.
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