Today the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) of the Georgia Rules for Air Quality Control to Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) for operating its Global Distribution Center (GDC), located on Lochridge Boulevard, Covington, without an air quality permit. This warehouse stores medical equipment sterilized using ethylene oxide at the BD Covington and BD Madison facilities, as well as medical equipment sterilized at other BD facilities outside of Georgia.
Due to EPD’s continued oversight, and as a condition of the October 28, 2019 judicial consent order, BD provided estimates of fugitive ethylene oxide emissions occurring at offsite warehouses located in Newton County on December 15, 2019. BD’s report identified one such warehouse, the GDC, and estimated GDC’s ethylene oxide emissions at 0.65 pounds per hour or 5,600 pounds per year, therefore requiring a permit under the Georgia Rules of Air Quality Control.
The Notice of Violation seeks to prevent BD from placing any medical equipment that has been sterilized using ethylene oxide into the GDC from December 23, 2019 through January 6, 2020 to decrease the amount of product in the GDC, and to allow BD and EPD time to develop a plan to lower emissions from this facility. The Notice of Violation further requests that BD conduct ambient air monitoring around the facility and submit a permit application for the GDC that will include installation of air pollution control equipment to destroy no less than 99% of ethylene oxide emissions. In the Notice of Violation, EPD requests additional information from BD to inform future decision-making.
The Notice of Violation is the first step in EPD’s enforcement process. As prescribed by statute, the Notice of Violation’s conditions are not binding unless included in a consent agreement or other order. EPD will evaluate BD’s response to the Notice of Violation (due Friday, December 20, 2019, at 1 pm) as it considers potential next steps, including assessment of fines or other enforcement actions.
Current law requires that facilities with a potential to emit greater than 4,000 pounds a year of ethylene oxide have a permit and install emissions controls. As a result of the analysis of ethylene oxide emissions at the GDC required by the October 28th order, EPD has become aware that the GDC is above this threshold. GA EPD has alerted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of this situation.
The BD Report on Fugitive Emissions from the GDC as well as the EPD Notice of Violation can be found on the EPD ethylene oxide webpage at https://epd.georgia.gov/ethylene-oxide-information.
News Media Contact: Kevin Chambers (404) 651-7970