COVINGTON — The state Environmental Protection Division reported Friday that Becton Dickinson and Company (BD) violated an Oct. 28 judicial consent order by failing to notify the EPD of a small warehouse it operates on Wheat Street in Covington.
The revelation came after the EPD issued a notice of violation to BD on Wednesday based on emissions of ethylene oxide from BD’s Global Distribution Center on Lochridge Boulevard. The EPD found that the emissions from the distribution center violated the state’s air quality rules by operating without a permit.
BD was given until Friday afternoon to respond to the EPD’s allegations. According to the EPD, in its response BD informed EPD for the first time of the smaller warehouse on Wheat Street, which has been used to store sterilized medical equipment since May. As part of the agreement reached Friday, EPD said BD will conduct air monitoring at the Wheat Street warehouse before removing all of the products no later than Dec. 23.
In response the EPD’s Wednesday notice of violation in connection with the large distribution center on Lochridge Boulevard, BD will take immediate steps to decrease the amount of product in the warehouse distribution center, including ceasing placing medical equipment that has been sterilized using ethylene oxide in the warehouse from Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. through Jan. 6, 2020 at midnight and removing certain products from the warehouse. BD will also conduct air monitoring at the nearest residential area and nearest school as well as weekly indoor air monitoring and outdoor fence line monitoring at the distribution center. This is in addition to EPD’s continued monitoring in the Covington area. As requested by EPD, BD will submit additional information to EPD by 5 p.m. on Dec. 23 on making additional reductions in emissions. In addition, BD is required to submit a permit application for the distribution center to EPD by Feb. 3, 2020.
BD sterilizes medical equipment in Covington, Madison and elsewhere in Georgia using ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. The sterilized equipment is then stored at BD’s distribution center on Lochridge Boulevard prior to distribution. Equipment that has been recently sterilized will continue to emit ethylene oxide