Under terms of the agreement, which is subject to court approval, Sterigenics will install additional emission capture and control equipment that will enable the Willowbrook facility to meet the new, stringent standards set by Illinois for ethylene oxide (EO) sterilization. In addition, Sterigenics has agreed to fund $300,000 in community projects designed to benefit the environment and the local community, to be developed in coordination with the state.
The company previously submitted its permit application to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL EPA) for the installation of the new equipment, which will further enhance the systems already in place at Willowbrook and reduce remaining EO emissions by:
- Increasing the number of emission control stages to increase EO capture;
- Combining the existing emissions stacks into one common stack at the facility; and
- Eliminating the release of EO "fugitive" emissions from the plant.
Sterigenics has also agreed to reduce EO usage at the Willowbrook facility and to a combination of continuous emission monitoring, emission stack testing, and ambient air monitoring to ensure and to demonstrate that the additional controls are working. The Sterigenics Willowbrook facility will resume operations upon approval by the IL EPA following the installation of the new controls.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which creates a path for our Willowbrook facility to resume its safe operation and includes no finding of wrongdoing on the company's part nor the imposition of any financial penalties," said Sterigenics President Philip Macnabb. "The state government has gone to great lengths to set new standards for the protection of the public that are more stringent than any other location in the country. While our Willowbrook operations have consistently complied with and outperformed the state's requirements, we have repeatedly stated our support for evolving regulations and our commitment to enhancing our operations in the interest of protecting public health. We remain committed to abiding by the new regulations established by the state. By resolving this matter, we are one major step closer to resuming the critical work of sterilizing vital medical products and devices in Willowbrook for patients in Illinois and beyond."
The installation of new emissions controls will firmly established the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility as having the strictest EO control environment of any facility in the country, according to the company.