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The 90 Day Plan

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spill closes section of Mississippi River


ST. LOUIS — A section of the Mississippi River was shut down in northeast Missouri on Tuesday after a cloud of sulfur trioxide gas was released from an industrial plant. The BASF plant and others nearby were evacuated.

No injuries were reported, and officials from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources were trying to determine how much of the gas was released at the plant, which is between Hannibal and Palmyra, about 115 miles north of St. Louis.

When mixed with water, sulfur trioxide becomes sulfuric acid, which can cause serious health problems and even death. The DNR sent an emergency responder to the site.

The plant, which makes chemicals for the agricultural industry, and neighboring industries were evacuated. The U.S. Coast Guard closed a seven-mile stretch of the Mississippi River to all traffic.

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