Officials: Gas release contained with no off-site impact

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Department of Environmental Quality said there was a gas release Friday morning from one of the chemical plants in Baton Rouge, but it was contained shortly after.

It happened at the Solvay Rhodia plant on Airline Highway near the Huey P. Long Bridge (Old Bridge) at 8:15 a.m.

A DEQ spokesperson said sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide leaked from a damaged converter that had to be shut down. A shelter in place order was briefly issued inside the plant, but no injuries were reported.

Officials at Solvay Rodia said the situation was minor and never posed a threat to the public.

"We have a very good safety program in place, this was a minor leak on an exchanger," said Daniel Tate, site manager. "It's just an SO3 cloud that's very visible, so we just wanted to take every precaution we could alerting the agencies early to make sure and we brought it under control very quickly."

DEQ said the all-clear was given at 8:50 a.m. Louisiana State Police Hazmat said there was no off-site impact due to the release. Air monitors set up along the perimeter of the site detected nothing unusual.

Tate added crews are assessing the damaged equipment to figure out exactly what caused the leak.

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