Latest on Sterigenics Plant situation
April 8, 2020
US District Judge issues Consent Order canceling April 14th hearing.
County's statement on order:
Marietta, GA -- The County has mutually agreed with Sterigenics to maintain the status quo under the existing Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), in light of the ongoing pandemic health crisis and emergency orders. A hearing on the TRO will occur at some point in the future regarding the operating status of the facility and its necessary occupancy and hazardous classifications.
The County stands behind the work exhibited by our Fire Marshal and Chief Building Official in their continued efforts to protect the County’s public from potential hazards and harms, regardless of origin. Public Safety has always been, and will remain, the County’s focus regarding this issue.
April 1, 2020
US District Judge issues restraining order allowing Sterigenics unrestricted operations for 14 days.
March 30, 2020
Sterigenics files lawsuit against Cobb County and officials in U.S. Federal Court.
March 26, 2020
Chairman Mike Boyce responds to concerns over his Limited Emergency Authorization to allow Sterigenics to reopen.
March 25, 2020
Chairman Mike Boyce issues emergency order to allow operations at Sterigenics.
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 the state Environmental Protection Division officials who will then analyze the results.
Cobb County officials are waiting on the 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.”
March 19, 2020
US FDA officials send a letter to Governor Kemp on Sterigenics and the fight against COVID-19 virus.
February 27, 2020
Cobb County issues a statement regarding the ongoing investigation into Sterigenics' Certificate of Occupancy
There have been conflicting statements made about work going on at the Sterigenics facility and the current status of operations there.
Any work that has happened at the facility since construction permits were pulled in October of 2019 were tasks that do not require permitting. Any business in the county is allowed to do routine maintenance on their buildings in most cases without getting any permission from the county.
The airflow testing Sterigenics requested last month was an operation that did not require permitting and did not involve the use of any ethylene oxide.
Prior to the test, county officials and Sterigenics began a discussion about removing ethylene oxide from the facility and those discussions continue. The airflow test was subsequently canceled.
The issues surrounding whether Sterigenics can store and use ethylene oxide at that site, and if so how much, is the subject of continuing work by a third-party expert. That analysis has proven to be more complicated than initially thought. The results of the report will determine the path forward in regards to Sterigenics’ Certificate of Occupancy at that site and any pending construction permits.
Please remember that there are no current sterilization operations at the facility due to the actions of the county. The safety of our residents is our utmost concern and we are taking every step possible to ensure compliance with all applicable fire and building codes. But it is a long and complicated process that continues.
February 19, 2020
A scheduled airflow/negative air pressure test at the Sterigenics facility on Olympic Industrial Drive will not happen Thursday as originally planned. Officials with the state Environmental Protection Division reached out to county officials seeking a new authorization for the test after receiving conflicting information about whether further permitting or inspections were needed. County Manager Rob Hosack indicated it would take some time to specifically address the concerns.
The planned test did not involve the use of ethylene oxide and was not a prelude to the company resuming operations. The test addressed issues with state environmental emissions regulations per a consent order. Work between Sterigenics and an independent third-party engineering firm to address fire code and safety issues with Cobb County continues. The third-party expert has not yet generated a report and there is no timetable for completion of the highly-technical report. Both parties are still trading information as part of that investigation. No sterilization is occurring at the facility.
Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce expressed frustration with the situation and reiterated residents need to be notified farther in advance before any action at the plant takes place.
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area in District 2, released the following statement:
I found out late last night about the proposed testing by Sterigenics. I immediately reached out to the Governor’s office to get EPD to stop this testing and force Sterigenics to comply with county rules and codes. Although the testing involves a test of the negative pressure system of the facility and is not using any ethylene oxide, it is unacceptable for Sterigenics to proceed without approval or permits from the county and the state.
Through the efforts of the governor’s office and with coordination of Ga EPD the testing has been canceled pending Sterigenics obtaining the necessary permit and inspections of the negative pressure system. I will continue to keep you informed of the situation as it progresses.
Georgia Environmental Protection Division has postponed a planned negative air pressure test at the Sterigenics facility. Information from EPD:
On October 9, 2019, EPD issued a letter to Sterigenics outlining testing protocols that must be fulfilled prior to issuance of a permit, https://epd.georgia.gov/sterigenics-us-llc. That letter requires Sterigenics to obtain necessary approvals from Cobb County prior to any testing activity.
On February 14, 2020, Sterigenics notified EPD that Sterigenics will be conducting the flow and pressure testing of the negative pressure system on February 20, 2020. This is in reference to Condition #5 in the October 9th letter, “Demonstrate that the Indoor Air System enclosure meets 100% capture.” This test does not include the use of ethylene oxide.
EPD is seeking confirmation from Cobb County that Sterigenics has the necessary county approvals to conduct this testing.
We are waiting on word from Cobb County that all necessary approvals have been met. We don’t expect that today, so the testing will not occur tomorrow.
February 18, 2020
We are aware that Sterigenics plans a test of a system that does not require the use of ethylene oxide. This test is being done to fulfill state requirements and will not involve the use of ethylene oxide.
Cobb County will not allow Sterigenics to resume the use of ethylene oxide for any purpose until the County has completed all of its Public Safety diligence.
This does not change anything about the current work of the third-party expert investigating Sterigenics occupancy status at that facility, and the county’s belief that a “high hazard” status is warranted. That work continues and Sterigenics currently does not have the county’s approval to resume operations.
February 4, 2020
In response to some inquiries, the work involving an independent third party and Sterigenics over fire code issues is continuing. No report has been generated yet as that expert continues to request more information from the company.
December 2, 2019
In reference to some recent questions about activity at the Sterigenics facility on Olympic Industrial Drive.
Cobb County officials are aware that workers are finishing some minor modifications to their facility. This work involves the building’s HVAC system and is necessary to allow for future inspections of the facility. The company and county officials have been in contact concerning the work. Work to sort out issues surrounding the facility’s Certificate of Occupancy continues.
The facility has not been cleared to resume operations.
October 25, 2019
FDA releases statement on the availability of certain medical devices.
October 21, 2019
Joint Medical Organizations issue statement on ETO use and supply of medical devices.
October 13, 2019
County responds to Alston and Bird October 10 letter.
County outlines requirements for Certificate of Occupancy.
October 10, 2019
The law firm representing Sterigenics sends a letter to Cobb County, replying to October 1st letter.
October 9 2019
Georgia EPD sends Sterigenics letter requesting more information and testing of modification plans.
October 4, 2019
Sterigenics reacts to recent EPD investigation into suspected release.
October 3, 2019
Georgia Environmental Protection Division releases a report on a suspected release of ethylene oxide this summer.
October 1, 2019
Marietta, GA - Oct 1 | Cobb County officials delivered a letter to attorneys representing Sterigenics this afternoon, outlining the steps and procedures needed for the approval of construction permits and a change in the facility’s occupancy status.
Download the letter:
September 26, 2019
Commissioner: Cobb Requires Sterigenics to Remain Shut Down Pending Review
Fire Marshal’s change of Occupancy Status likely to bring new requirements
Marietta - Sept 26 | District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott says county officials will send Sterigenics a formal notice mandating that the company remain shut down during a review of the permitting process and fire protection standards.
“The review is fairly technical,” Commissioner Ott said, “so what the Fire Marshal is doing is bringing in an outside consultant per the National Fire Protection Standards (FPS) and that person will help the county determine exactly what the fire protection standards need to be and that will be passed on to Sterigenics.”
Ott believes the reviews could take several weeks. Sterigenics voluntarily shut down in late August to begin work on installing advanced equipment to reduce their emissions of ethylene oxide. The chemical is used in a medical sterilization process but has recently been classified as a carcinogen by the EPA.
Ott said the Fire Marshal noticed the company’s occupancy status was outdated when they recently applied for a construction permit. The change to an “industrial” status could bring with it additional code requirements that could apply to Sterigenics.
An Oversight Committee compromised of members from Smyrna, Cobb County, and the City of Atlanta formed to conduct independent air testing around the plant. Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, the committee’s chair, said today the testing effort will remain paused until Sterigenics resumes operations.
September 24, 2019
Southern Environmental Law Center filing on the EPD's air quality permit application approval.
September 20, 2019
Cobb County's Development and Inspections Division has placed a hold on Sterigenic's construction permit as it investigates the company's occupancy status at its facility on Olympic Industrial. The recent application listed a change in the status which could require additional regulations over the facility. The review of the permit and status is ongoing.
September 16, 2019
VIDEO UPDATE - The Oversight Committee formed to conduct independent air monitoring around Cobb’s Sterigenics plant received their first report today. The environmental engineering company GHD briefed the group on the first three days of testing. Watch the video to find out more. Some important details:
• The tests were conducted while the Sterigenics plant was NOT operating.
• 80% of the monitors positioned in Smyrna, Cobb, and Atlanta did NOT detect ethylene oxide.
• Those monitors that DID detect ethylene oxide matched what is considered “background” readings found in much of the country.
• Testing has paused but will resume after the Sterigenics facility resumes normal operation.
VIDEO REPORT ON THE MEETING:
September 9, 2019
The independent air testing effort has temporarily halted due to Sterigenics construction and operations shutdown. Smyrna Fire Chief Roy Acree: "In our efforts to conduct independent air sampling, we currently have a full week of data. We will resume ambient air sampling after production resumes at Sterigenics."
September 6, 2019
Sterigenics plans to expedite construction on emissions controlling measures, meaning production will largely be halted until next month.
Smyrna, GA (September 6, 2019) -- Sterigenics officials had notified the Smyrna - Cobb County - City of Atlanta oversight committee about their proposal to suspended production during construction work at their facility this month. The planned work is not expected to significantly alter the task force’s work to independently monitor the air for ethylene oxide emissions.
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, who is chairing the Oversight Committee, said the Task Force conducting the testing had already made provisions for this situation.
“We’re aware of the operational shutdown at the facility,” Mayor Bacon said. “The Task Force had already taken this into account during their planning and those involved assure us it will not negatively impact our efforts.”
The Task Force, working with the firm GHD Services, began positioning air monitors this week. Smyrna, Cobb County, and the City of Atlanta have joined to form the effort to independently test the amount of ethylene oxide in the air surrounding the Sterigenics facility.
Governor Kemp's reaction to the construction timeline announcement.
August 30, 2019
Sterigenics plans plant operation changes during construction:
"In order to expedite the installation of enhancements at its Atlanta facility, Sterigenics is altering production schedules at the facility to ensure timely execution on construction. During this period, Sterigenics periodically will shut down production and/or reduce production as construction needs dictate. We are working with our customers during this period to minimize any impact on the supply of sterile medical products to healthcare professionals and the patients who need them."
Cobb County statement responding to Sterigenics plan to alter production schedules:
"Sterigenics has agreed to provide the joint Smyrna/Cobb/Atlanta Oversight Committee with the dates and times of altered production schedules that could affect emissions and alter the Committee's intentions when it comes to the timing of independent air testing. The committee, working with the GHD company, will address the situation accordingly."
August 27, 2019
Investigation ordered into July 31st incident at Sterigenics facility near Smyrna
Governor Kemp: Investigation opened into July 31st incident at the Sterigenics facility.
Sterigenics statement on July 31st incident.
Commissioner Bob Ott's comments on July 31st incident
August 23, 2019
WABE: Georgia Lawmaker Calls For Investigation Into EPD’s Handling Of Ethylene Oxide
August 22, 2019
The president of Sterigenics is expected to address the Cobb County Board of Commissioners during a Work Session on Monday, August 26 at 1:30 pm. The meeting is the BOC Room at 100 Cherokee Street. You can watch the meeting live on CobbTV or stream it later at www.youtube.com/cobbcountygovt.
Chairman Boyce on Monday: https://youtu.be/yaT4uUE0zfA
August 21, 2019
Governor Kemp issues a statement after meeting with Sterigenics officials.
August 20, 2019
The Smyrna/Cobb County/Atlanta committee formed to conduct independent air testing holds its first formal meeting.
August 20, 2019
Watch the August 19, 2019 Community Meeting on Sterigenics at the following link.
August 19, 2019
City of Atlanta has issued a statement on participating on independent air testing.
August 17, 2019
Governor Brian Kemp statement on Sterigenics situation.
August 16, 2019
Georgia EPD announces the start of air testing near Sterigenics and a second facility. Cobb County leaders say this will NOT change the plan to hire an independent firm to do air testing in the county.
August 15, 2019
The EPA has posted a meeting agenda for the Community Meeting Monday night. Click the link to view it.
Remember, you can ask questions at the Open House that begins at 5 p.m. Questions for the 7 p.m. meeting will need to be submitted via their website. Scroll down just a bit for that link.
August 15, 2019
Officials from the City of Atlanta have indicated an interest in joining the independent air testing agreement that Smyrna and Cobb County are already working on. However, more details must be worked out before Atlanta joins the effort.
August 13, 2019
More information on the August 19 Community Meeting and how to ask questions at the forum:
Sterigenics Smyrna Facility: Open House and Community Meeting
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, in coordination with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, will host an open house and community meeting, on August 19, 2019, at the Cobb County Civic Center.
Monday, August 19, 2019
Cobb County Civic Center
548 South Marietta Pkwy SE, Marietta, GA 30060
Open House: 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
The open house will be from 5:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. followed immediately by the community meeting from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
The open house will provide an opportunity for individuals to talk one-on-one with staff from U.S. EPA and other agencies, along with representatives of community organizations, about their concerns related to ethylene oxide.
Community Forum: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The community meeting will feature a series of presentations from federal and state agencies that have been examining issues related to ethylene oxide from the Sterigenics facility. Staff from U.S. EPA and other agencies will provide updates on their work.
Submit a Question to be Addressed at the Public Meeting by going to:
Sterigenics Smyrna Facility: Open House and Community Meeting –
August 13, 2019
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved an agenda item today to hire an independent company to take air samples around the Sterigenics facility. GHD is the company that did the testing around the Sterigenics facility in Illinois. See below for the company's proposal for testing. The City of Smyrna will consider the partnership on Monday. The City of Atlanta has been asked to participate as well. Once approved the testing could start in a matter of weeks.
August 12, 2109
Cobb's Board of Commissioners will consider a proposal to partner with the city of Smyrna to have a company called GHD do independent air quality testing near the Sterigenics plant. The proposal will be considered during the Tuesday morning Board meeting which can be viewed live on the CobbTV networks (including www.youtube.com/cobbcountygovt).
August 9, 2019
State Rep. Teri Anulewicz releases latest on Sterigenics situation with new updates.
August 7, 2019
Cobb Leaders Join Smyrna Effort to Test Air Near Sterilization Plant
An Oversight Committee will seek experts to do independent testing
Smyrna, GA - August 6, 2019 | Cobb County leaders say they’ll accept an invitation from Smyrna’s mayor to join an effort to conduct independent air testing near a medical sterilization plant in District 2. Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon asked County Manager Rob Hosack and Commissioners Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid to join an Oversight Committee that will include residents, business leaders and others from both the city and county.
The effort comes after a report raised concerns about Ethylene Oxide released from the Sterigenics Plant off Atlanta Road. The EPA considers Ethylene Oxide a cancer-causing chemical, but Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division has said Sterigenics is “in compliance with current federal requirements for control of ethylene oxide emissions.”
“We need to make sure the community is protected, that people are safe,” said Mayor Bacon. “The key is getting this going, getting the air tested and see where we go from there.”
The committee will include city and county officials, health experts, and other local stakeholders who will work with an Independent Air Quality Task Force of private technology experts to quickly implement a plan to test the air near Sterigenics and analyze the results.
A small group met with representatives of GHD, the company who did independent testing around the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook, Illinois. The company said testing could be set up in a few weeks, with some initial results a few weeks after that. The committee will also reach out to officials in Atlanta to see if they would like to expand testing there.
“This is a great opportunity for the City of Smyrna and Cobb County to work together to give residents what they’ve been asking for; independent testing,” said Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott. “This quick action shows the great relationship between the city and county.”
August 7, 2019
Smyrna announces Oversight Committee and Task Force to implement independent air quality testing near the plant.
August 5, 2019
Officials announce an Open House will precede the August 19th Community Meeting. Doors of the Cobb County Civic Center will open in time for the 5:00 p.m. Open House. It will include booths from the evening's participants and give residents opportunities to ask questions before the 7 p.m. Community Meeting.
August 2, 2019
Georgia EPD release on approval of plan to reduce emissions from Sterigenics.
August 2, 2019
Governor Brian Kemp releases a brief statement on Sterigenics.
August 2, 2019
Senator Jen Jordan asks EPA for monitoring of the area around Sterigenics.
August 2, 2019
Senator Jen Jordan sends letters to the Governor and Attorney General.
August 1, 2019
Congressman David Scott calls on Sterigenics to suspend operations in Georgia.
August 1, 2019
Sterigenics has put up a website with their information and updates. It is located at;
July 31, 2019
Commissioner Bob Ott has announced a new, county Community Meeting on Sterigenics that will be;
Monday, August 19th at 7:00 pm
Cobb County Civic Center
548 South Marietta Pkwy SE, Marietta
That meeting will feature federal EPA officials, as well as others from the Georgia EPD and the CDC.
"Cobb County will also partner with the City of Smyrna to do independent testing and monitoring in the area," said Commission Ott who expects to introduce an agenda item at the Board's August 13th meeting.
July 31, 2019
Video from Tuesday night's community meeting on Sterigenics has been posted at https://youtu.be/d8zhQKECxXU
July 30, 2019
The EPA has a link on their website for information on ethylene oxide.
July 25, 2019
State EPD officials today released a statement on the situation surrounding the Sterigenics Facility near Smyrna.
July 24, 2019
Arrangements are being made for a public meeting concerning this situation and state, county, and local municipal officials are working on getting with Sterigenics officials to discuss the present and future operations there. We will post information here on the latest when we get the details.
Some documents obtained today are below;
Sterigenics releases statements
July 23, 2019
Statement from State Senator Jen Jordan on Sterigenics
As I indicated yesterday, disturbing reporting by Georgia Health News and WebMD revealed that Georgia’s Environmental Protected Division (“EPD”) has kept the public in the dark about an elevated cancer risk caused by the emission of ethylene oxide in the metro-Atlanta area.
This morning, with Rep. Erick Allen, I spoke with the President of Sterigenics and he has represented to me that the company will be submitting an application to Georgia EPD within 7 to 14 days that will seek EPD's approval for Sterigenics to install new emissions-reducing technology in its Cobb County plant that the company believes will significantly reduce emissions and bring down any emissions to an acceptable level.
If its application is approved by EDP, Sterigenics believes that the installation of the new emissions-reducing technology would then take approximately 12 weeks to complete. The company has said that it would put out a formal statement by the end of the day. Rep. Allen and I will post the statement once we have it in hand.
To be clear, these initial overtures are welcome, but they are just the beginning and will not cut off my office's efforts to ensure that the people that live in my district are not being harmed. I know that there is a lot of troubling information out there, but just know that we are working to get answers and solutions.
July 23, 2019
Commissioner Bob Ott’s office has reached out to state Environmental Protection Division officials after residents expressed concern about a medical equipment facility operating in a nearby Heavy Industrial area.
A recently-published article indicated the Sterigenics facility off Atlanta Road near the Chattahoochee River emits a gas that has been linked to cancer.
“The county understands the concerns of people who live in the area,” said Commissioner Ott. “Both my assistant and others with the county have had multiple conversations with Georgia EPD officials since the article came out and want to make sure the state is doing everything it can to monitor emissions from the plant.”
Ott’s office confirmed the Sterigenics facility is operating legally in an area zoned for heavy industrial use. The company did not receive any incentives or tax breaks to locate there.
Georgia EPD officials tell us the company is currently in compliance with state regulations and has told them they are installing additional emission controls at their own cost.
The concerns were raised not because the plant is releasing more ethylene oxide gas, but because the US Environmental Protection Agency recently identified the gas as a carcinogen. State EPD officials told Commissioner Ott’s office that since that change, new testing and analysis has been underway with results expected in the next few months.
“Even though the state has authority in monitoring emissions coming from the plant, I think it is important the county makes sure residents in the area get their questions answered and are briefed on any new results as soon as possible,” Ott said.
Ross Cavitt | Cobb County Communications | [email protected]