Manure Pool Spawns Giant Bubbles

You think you have troubles at work? Dairy farmer Tony Goltstein of Winchester, Indiana has methane bubbles the size of houses rising up to twenty feet tall, full of gas released by decomposing cow manure. Since wholesale prices of dairy products has plummeted, he cannot afford to properly maintain the manure lagoon. Replacing the plastic liner would cost around $200,000, and Goltstein is afraid the lagoon will overflow if the bubbles under the plastic continue to rise.
This month, Mr. Goltstein asked state regulators to let him pop the bubbles. He said he and his 19-year-old son would slice them open with a knife from a paddleboat.

Bruce Palin, assistant commissioner for the office of land quality at the state environmental agency, said officials were considering the idea. But, he added, "not knowing how much volume of gas is there and how much pressure is on it, we're concerned with just cutting a hole."

Last year, a hog farmer in Hayfield, Minn., was launched 40 feet into the air in an explosion caused by methane gas from a manure pit on his farm. He sustained burns and singed hair.

Mr. Goltstein's attorney, Glenn D. Bowman, acknowledged that the potential existed for an explosion: "We're aware of that sort of common physics issue," he said.

The Goltsteins filed for bankruptcy last month. Link -via Digg

(image credit: Lauren Etter)

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