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BD announces results of third-party voluntary stack testing at Covington facility

COVINGTON, Ga. - Becton Dickinson, or BD, a leading global medical technology company, today announced that a third-party emissions testing firm has determined the emissions abatement technology used at BD’s Covington facility destroys 99.999% of ethylene oxide routed to the abatement system during the medical product sterilization process. 

This destruction rate efficiency is significantly better than the 99.97% reported during the last required stack test in 2012.

The voluntary stack test was conducted by the independent, analytical firm, ECSI, of San Clemente, California, Sept. 11 and 12. The test protocol was accepted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division prior to the test, and two members of Georgia EPD’s Source Monitoring Unit were onsite to observe the test. 

Based on this most recent performance test, BD would have reported only 3.5 pounds of EtO point source emissions for the full year (0.15 ounces per day), which is 28 times lower than BD’s previously reported 100.7 pounds of EtO point source emissions from Covington in 2018.

The results are not from the facility operating its emissions reduction equipment in a different way. The reported increase in efficiency is the result of more sensitive, higher resolution testing equipment that can detect and measure EtO levels at much lower concentrations than previous technology.

“The results of the latest stack test confirm that we operate our facility in a safe and responsible way, with newer, more sophisticated technology confirming that our stack emissions are extremely low,” Ellen Kondracki, vice president of Environment, Health and Safety at BD, said. “Given these new test results, it can be inferred that past emission reporting from BD (and previously C. R. Bard, Inc.) overestimated the amount of EtO released from our stacks, and historic reported emissions would have been significantly lower if prior stack testing had the ability to detect to today’s level of precision."

With stack testing confirming emissions to be lower than expected, we have turned our focus to the previously announced $8 million investment for planned improvements to further reduce fugitive emissions from the facility, and we are on schedule to submit our permit application on or before the end of the month.”

Because emissions modeling from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia EPD are based on emissions reported using the DRE from the previous stack test, the modeling results from the 2018 National Air Toxics Assessment and Georgia EPD’s modeling exercise from June 2019 would have shown significantly lower emissions in their models as well.

Using the updated 99.999% destruction efficiency, BD estimates 2019 emissions from the stack will be approximately 3 to 5 pounds. 

BD will report 2019 emissions through the U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory using the updated destruction rate by July 1, 2020, in accordance with EPA requirements. 

BD does not intend to restate reported emissions from 2018 or earlier based on the results of this stack test.