COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Cobb County government officials are speaking out after "conflicting statements" regarding the sterilization plant Sterigenics have caused strife and concern among residents, county officials and lawmakers.

Last week, CBS46 reported on Georgia's Environment Protection Division's decision to cancel the Feb. 20 testing of a new emission control system at the facility. News of the testing was publicized by Stop Sterigenics Georgia, a local advocacy group, spurring calls to local law maker Erick Allen.

Even more concerning was the revelation that the county approved the testing despite the facility having its construction permit pulled. Why would a pulled construction permit be an issue? Well, without permits there's no way the plant could legally work on a new emissions control system; or so advocacy groups and law makers thought.

On Feb. 27, a statement from the county read:

"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 cancelled.

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."

Still caught in the throws of a toxic air scandal due to the use of ethylene oxide, Sterigenics has yet to prove to the community off of Atlanta Road that it has rectified issues allowing cancer-causing toxins to flow into the air.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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