News Release 146

Department of Natural Resources responding to sulfur trioxide release from BASF plant in Palmyra

Volume 38-146 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 23, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is responding this morning to the report of an on-going air release of sulfur trioxide from the BASF plant in Palmyra.

The department was notified this morning by plant officials that the plant began venting the gas about 8 a.m., and the release was continuing through mid-morning. The department has dispatched an emergency environmental responder from its Macon office to the scene to help determine the extent of the release and possible human health and environmental effects.

When mixed with water, sulfur trioxide becomes sulfuric acid.

BASF officials have evacuated the plant and neighboring industries. As a precaution, the U.S. Coast Guard has stopped traffic on the Mississippi River between mile markers 325 and 318.

Prevailing winds from the southwest are carrying the vented gas over a primarily rural area of Illinois. The department has contacted both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency office that covers Missouri as well as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The department has also notified Marion County emergency management officials.

A copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet for sulfur trioxide may be found at