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Cobb approves $40,000 for air testing near Smyrna Sterigenics plant

The outside of the Sterigenics building near Smyrna. ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/SPECIAL TO THE AJC
The outside of the Sterigenics building near Smyrna. ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage

Cobb commissioners approved $40,000 in contingency funds Tuesday to go toward independent air testing around a Sterigenics plant in Smyrna following concerns over emissions there.

The county will partner with the city of Smyrna and possibly Atlanta as officials weigh a bid from GHD Environmental and Consulting, Inc. to carry out the tests. GHD is a global firm that also conducted air tests in Willowbrook, Illinois, where a similar Sterigenics facility was shut down after the test results showed high levels of ethylene oxide, a carcinogen.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area where Sterigenics is located in Cobb, said the testing would give the public a better understanding of any threats to public health. Until now, emissions data has been based on self-reported numbers from the company and modelling by regulators, not air sampling.

“I know that this has been a very tumultuous couple of weeks for the community,” Ott said.

Each of the commissioners spoke in support of the testing, and the measure passed 5-0. Smyrna is scheduled to vote on its funding contribution soon.