A day after Cobb commissioners approved an air quality testing proposal around a Smyrna-area facility, the city of Atlanta expressed its desire to add to the effort, according to a letter received by Smyrna leaders.
Posting Thursday on the “Stop Sterigenics Georgia” Facebook group, Smyrna Councilman Derek Norton shared a letter from an Atlanta government staffer who said the city “intends to join Smyrna, Cobb County, and possibly the City of South Fulton in the Hazard Assessment and Ambient Air Sampling acquisition.” Cobb County has already signed on to put forth $39,600 to cover its portion of air testing around Sterigenics, a medical equipment sterilization facility outside the city’s limits; Smyrna council members will vote Monday on a similar measure to put the same amount of city funds toward the effort.
Community members are blaming Sterigenics for elevated emission levels of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing substance.
On Thursday, Smyrna spokesperson Jennifer Bennett confirmed the authenticity of Atlanta’s letter, which had been addressed to Smyrna City Administrator Tammi Saddler-Jones.
“They expressed that they intend to do that,” Bennett said of Atlanta officials, but said the city had not received similar confirmation from South Fulton.
Calls and emails to the city governments of Atlanta and South Fulton to confirm their intentions and any specifics the cities may agree to in regards of testing were not returned Thursday.
The proposed testing comes on the heels of reports that those living near the Cobb border with Fulton could be within six census tracts that have some of the highest ethylene oxide readings in the state. Conducting the tests will be independent air testing firm GHD Services Inc., which did the testing of ethylene oxide around a Sterigenics facility in Illinois.
GHD is estimating a $79,200 price tag for collecting 15 air samples from indoor and outdoor locations in Smyrna and Cobb during a two-week period, with the cost split between the two cities.
Cobb County Manager Rob Hosack on Tuesday said the two governments would likely sit down with GHD to start air testing as quickly as possible after Smyrna approves its side of the contract.
GHD’s proposal also included a cost estimate of $133,700 for doubling the number of samples, from 15 to 30, should the city of Atlanta join the partnership. If Atlanta were to join, Hosack previously said, the price tag could be split three ways, with each government paying just over $44,500.
It was unclear Thursday if the possible inclusion of South Fulton would alter costs or the scope of testing.