Be cautious against poisonous gases in tubewell pits: PAU Expert

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Ludhiana, July 27, 2012: The Soil and Water Engineering (SWE) experts of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have advised the farmers to check the presence of poisonous gases before entering the tubewell pits.

The Head of SWE, Dr A.K. Jain, observed, “The cultivation of rice, in hot and humid weather, often results in accumulation of gasses like carbon dioxide and nitrogen in tubewell pits. In case, a farmer enters the tubewell pit for any repair of the pump, he can become unconscious because of less oxygen, which can further result into his death due to asphyxia.”

Suggesting lowering a lighted lamp into the pit to check the presence of gasses, Dr Jain said that, if the lamp blows out, carbon dioxide/nitrogen levels in the pit will be higher than oxygen level. To push out these gasses in shallow pits, move open inverted umbrella up and down in the pit for about one hour, advised Dr Jain, saying that a jute bag can also be used for this purpose. The gas can also be removed by lowering a table fan upto bottom of the pit and running it for half an hour, he added.

In case of belt driven pumpsets, he suggested running the pump idle for  about 20 minutes. The gas will be agitated and will come out of pit within 30 minutes. He further said, “For deep pits, air blower can be used to push out the gasses by lowering a flexible plastic pipe attached to the inlet of the blower. Put lime (calcium oxide) solution in the pit to neutralize the carbon dioxide gas. Plastering of walls can also reduce the entry of gasses in the pit, but will not prevent it fully.”

Dr Jain stressed that after adopting any one of these methods, the lighted lamp should again be used before entering the pit. At least one person should be present at the site when the pump/motor is being repaired in the pit, he emphasised.

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