Cobb allows Sterigenics to resume delayed testing

Sterigenics sign in article about lawsuit Sterigenics, BD BardSterigenics (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Cobb County Communications Director Ross Cavitt distributed the following news release about the resumption of tests at the Sterigenics plant off Atlanta Road near Smyrna, which had been cancelled in February:

March 23, 2020 | Consistent with county code and internal county procedures, Cobb County officials plan to allow Sterigenics to conduct previously-delayed negative air pressure testing on their building.

This test does not involve the use of ethylene oxide and is not a prelude to the facility re-opening.

“We recognize that Sterigenics could assist the community in combating COVID 19,” said County Manager Rob Hosack. “However, several critical steps must be completed before Sterigenics can safely reopen and comply with fire safety codes and other county ordinances as has been shared with Sterigenics.”

Sterigenics may conduct this testing in the next few days, the results of which will go to state Environmental Protection Division officials who will then analyze the results.Cobb County officials are waiting on results of a third-party expert’s investigation into Sterigenics’ operation and how the facility can comply with the latest fire codes.“We understand the gravity of the current situation,” Hosack said, “but we also need to ensure the safety of our residents and with that in mind we need to carefully move forward.”

Background

The Sterigenics plant became a focus of community concern in Smyrna and surrounding areas after an article jointly published by Georgia Health News and WebMD reported that three census tracts, two in the Smyrna area and one in Covington, had unacceptable levels of cancer risk by EPA standards, due to elevated amounts of ethylene oxide in the air.

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