Gases from manure pose dangers on the farm

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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AMHERST, Wis. (WSAW) - Bob and Diane Biadacz lost their son Michael to hydrogen sulfide when he went out to agitate their farm’s manure pit six years ago. Since then they have been on a mission to educate the public about the dangers of the gas, even in an open-pit like theirs.

“That morning there was some fog in the air, and basically when he broke that crust, it went just a little ways up and the fog was there, and it held everything down and he got overcome with that hydrogen sulfide gas and we found him at 6:30 or thereabouts and he was deceased,” Bob said.

The family set up a Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund in his name to help others stay safe when working around manure.

“We started doing more testing and we did testing that year and other years and found out that the levels can be high no matter what the weather is.”

They developed a program to help farmers and manure haulers get monitors to track the gas levels. They also work to get fire stations to carry monitors that can be loaned out.

“Monitoring is the only way you’re going to know what the levels are at. Are they at a toxic level or are they not? We can always assume that gas is there, but making assumptions can be dangerous,” said Pittsville Fire Chief Gerald Minor.

The pandemic has made it harder to conduct the educational groups that they used to, but they still think it’s important that the word gets out. So far, the campaign has been met with success.

“This is a real wake-up call to everybody else, too. I know another guy that’s a manure hauler and almost every manure hauler’s got monitors now and prior to this no one really had monitors,” Bob said.

Click here to be connected to Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund website.

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