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Georgia Dept of Health: Illness Surveillance Related to DRT America Chemical Spill in Effingham County

The Coastal Health District is conducting surveillance to monitor for increases in illness reports that could be related to a chemical spill in Effingham County.

The chemical spill occurred at DRT America in the Ebenezer area on September 24, 2023 when a tank began leaking pretreated sulfate turpentine. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is actively investigating the incident and conducting air monitoring. Click here to read a Nov. 3, 2023 statement from the Georgia EPD regarding its investigation.

The Coastal Health District is conducting surveillance for increases in reported illnesses and has received subjective reports of illness from persons in Effingham County. There is no way to know if illnesses are directly related to the chemical spill unless confirmed by a healthcare provider. The Coastal Health District conducts surveillance for clusters of illnesses every day, such as increases in influenza-like illnesses, gastrointestinal illnesses, and many more.

If you are in the area and experiencing illness that you believe could be related to the chemical spill:

  • If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 for immediate medical care.
  • Contact your healthcare provider or call the Georgia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for medical advice.
  • If you would like to report the illness to public health, please complete a survey by clicking the button below.

Additional Instructions from EPD:

These additional instructions from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division were outlined in a statement released on Nov. 3, 2023:

If you smell the strong odor that people are complaining about, please record the following information: date of the incident, the time and duration, temperature, windspeed, wind direction and describe as best you can the odor. Email the information to and in the subject line type “Effingham Odor Investigation”. Once we have enough data, we can use this information to try and backtrack possible sources.

If you have specific questions about one of the permitted facilities in the area, please call EPD’s Air Protection Branch at 470-938-3349. For general questions or concerns about unusually strong odors in the Effingham area you can call the EPD Coastal District at 912-264-7284 or email

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