Best H2S Monitor for Manure Pits (Pig, Hog, and Cattle Farms)
Hydrogen sulfide is a dangerous and potentially fatal gas that is produced by the decomposition of manure in swine, pig, hog, and cattle farms. A hydrogen sulfide detector is a critical tool used to monitor the levels of hydrogen sulfide in manure pits. Such detectors are critical to saving the lives of both humans and animals, as is evidenced by past tragedies involving deaths as a result of hydrogen sulfide poisoning. They are also common in a number of industries including refining, mining, tanning, manufacturing, paper processing, and farming.
What is the Best H2S Monitor for Manure Pits?
The top hydrogen sulfide gas detectors for farms and manure gas personal protection includes the following:
- Forensic Detectors Hydrogen Sulfide Meter
- Forensics Detectors H2S Monitor (Waterproof)
- MSA H2S Monitor
- BW Honeywell H2S Detector
- RKI Instruments H2S Meter
- RAE Systems H2S Analyzer
Why Are Manure Pits Dangerous?
Manure pits are dangerous because they facilitate the decomposition of fecal waste and other waste from animals to produce dangerous gaseous compounds.
Such compounds may include methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide, each coming with their own negative health consequences.
What Kind of Gas Does Manure Give Off?
Manure produces a number of gases. Hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon dioxide are just three examples of gases produced during decomposition. Each one poses its own unique risks to human and animal health, but hydrogen sulfide is often regarded as the most dangerous.
What is Hydrogen Sulfide?
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas that is commonly said to smell like rotten eggs. It can be referred to by other names, as well, including the following:
- Sewer Gas
- Swamp Gas
- And more
It is a naturally occurring gas in a number of locations including the following:
- Manure pits
- Oil wells
- Gas wells
What is a H2S Gas Detector?
An H2S gas detector is a monitoring device used to detect the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas in a given environment. It is capable of measuring the concentration of the hydrogen sulfide gas in a manure pit.
Hydrogen sulfide detectors go by many names. Some examples include H2S monitor, hydrogen sulfide meter, H2S gas detector, and hydrogen sulfide gas detector.
What Are Symptoms of Hydrogen Sulfide?
Potential exposure to hydrogen (H2S gas) can cause a number of symptoms ranging in severity including the following:
- Eye irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
The symptoms caused by hydrogen sulfide poisoning are serious. This highlights the importance of proper gas monitoring in manure pits and other farm operations where the decomposition of animal waste may take place.
Is Hydrogen Sulfide Dangerous?
Yes it is.
H2S gas is dangerous to humans and animals.
Humans will be negatively affected by H2S gas if they breath it in air with a plethora of various symptoms.
OSHA notes that hydrogen sulfide gas is both flammable and explosive. As it burns, it also has the capacity to release toxic compounds into the air. Additionally, it can cause a number of health problems in both humans and animals, such as the symptoms described previously.
What Does Hydrogen Sulfide Do To Animals?
Hydrogen sulfide is potentially fatal to animals, especially farm animals such as cattle.
In fact, in 1997, upon exposure to hydrogen sulfide, 26 cows died in a matter of minutes. 7 more were affected greatly for several hours, appearing blind and staggering, before recovering. An additional 2 cows were euthanized in order to diagnose the tragic cause of the cattle deaths as hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
The continuous exposure of H2S gas to livestock also affects their productivity, yield and wellness, hence the importance of H2S gas monitoring.
How Do You Make Hydrogen Sulfide Gas?
In swine barns and manure pits, hydrogen sulfide gas is produced when manure decomposes in the absence of oxygen gas.
The sulfur is introduced to the decomposing manure through both feces and urine during this process, as the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs remarks. As the hydrogen sulfide gas continues to be produced, it remains bonded to the manure particles and accumulates to large quantities in a relatively short period of time.
How Do I Select an H2S Monitor for Manure Pits?
For manure pits, you need:
- a H2S monitor that can be clipped to your man, on your belt, jacket or jeans
- a H2S meter with alarms having LED, BUZZER and VIBRATION
- a H2S meter that runs on a battery for at least 24 hours to last the days work
- depending on the weather, you may desire for it to be waterproof and having a IP rating of at least IP65 but better for it to be rated at IP67
- small and compact so when wearing the unit it does not interfere with your work
How Does a Hydrogen Sulfide Detector Work?
A hydrogen sulfide gas detector uses electrochemical sensors in order to monitor the presence of of hydrogen sulfide gas. They use either ppm or ppb for their units of hydrogen sulfide quantity. The sensors are alerted of the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas when an electrochemical reaction occurs with the introduction of the gas.
Have There Been Any Deaths from Hydrogen Sulfide in Manure Pits?
Hydrogen sulfide has taken the lives of a number of animals and workers over the years.
Is Hydrogen Sulfide Gas a Problem in a Swine or Hog Farm?
Yes it is.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is a major problem in swine and hog farms because of its production in manure pits. In fact, hydrogen sulfide gas is frequently believed to be the most dangerous gas produced in manure pits. This gas is dangerous to both swine and humans, and has caused death in both groups in the past.
Is the Smell of Manure Harmful?
The smell of manure may or may not be harmful.
If a rotten egg smell is detected, it has the potential to be harmful because of the presence of hydrogen sulfide. With that said, hydrogen sulfide has a very low odor threshold, so it might be smelled at levels lower than it can harm humans.
Regardless, the utmost care should be taken when working in or around manure pits, especially when hydrogen sulfide can be smelled. This gas is dangerous and has taken lives in the past.
Where Is a H2S Monitor Used?
Other than manure pit personal protection, H2S monitors and detectors are used in:
- Sewer & wastewater
- Agricultural silos & pits
- Textile and clothing manufacturing
- Pulp & paper processing
- Food processing
How is Hydrogen Sulfide Removed from the Air?
There are several mechanisms used to remove hydrogen sulfide gas from the air, and more mechanisms are currently being investigated by researchers. One group of researchers evaluated the effectiveness of using cellular concrete waste as a packing material to remove hydrogen sulfide from the air and found that it was effective.
How Does the Body Get Rid of Hydrogen Sulfide?
Hydrogen sulfide is removed from the body by metabolism in the liver. This takes place after the body and its blood supply naturally carries the molecules of hydrogen sulfide to the liver where specialized cells clean the solution brought to them and filter out any waste, hydrogen sulfide included.
How Long Does Hydrogen Sulfide Stay in Your System?
Hydrogen sulfide does not actually remain in or accumulate in the system. Instead, it is metabolized rapidly in the liver and is excreted within the urine.
What are the Long Term Effects of Hydrogen Sulfide?
Repeated exposure to hydrogen sulfide may cause a number of health problems, especially when exposed to different levels of hydrogen sulfide. Such health effects may include the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Irritation of the eyes
- Brain damage
- Heart damage
Which Gases Are Concerns for Swine Welfare?
Iowa State University reports five primary gases as being prominent in swine environments, including manure pits. They include the following:
- Carbon dioxide
- Carbon monoxide
- Hydrogen sulfide
All five of the above gases pose a potential threat to both swine welfare and human welfare as well. Thus, proper care must be taken to ensure that workers and swine are both safe from potential adverse effects of the gases. If proper care is not taken, farm owners and workers may lose not only swine, but human lives as well.
At What Level Can You Smell Hydrogen Sulfide?
Hydrogen sulfide gas can be smelled at relatively low levels. In fact, the odor of the gas can be identified at concentrations lower than that which is able to cause serious, adverse health reactions.
The lower detection limit for humans for H2S gas is 0.00041ppm.
- Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with a strong, distinctive smell (rotten eggs).
- Hydrogen sulfide can cause serious harm and death to swine, cattle, and humans among other animals.
- Hydrogen sulfide detectors can be purchased for personal use for less than $100.
- In the past, hydrogen sulfide in manure pits has killed both animals and humans alike. It is imperative that workers take proper precautions when working in areas where hydrogen sulfide may be produced.
- Knowledge of symptoms may also save lives while working in manure pits.
About the Author
Dr. Koz is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.
Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and having a cold beer.
Read more about Forensics Detectors here.
Phone: +1 424-341-3886