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Postal Service to sanitize anthrax-contaminated buildings

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Applying lessons learned in the cleanup of a Senate office building, the Postal Service is preparing to sanitize anthrax-contaminated facilities in Washington and New Jersey.

Cleanup crews have sealed the massive Brentwood facility in Washington to prevent any spores from escaping and equipment is being installed to fill the building with germ-killing gas.

But with many details still to be worked out it could be a couple of months before the work gets done, Thomas G. Day, postal vice president for engineering, said Tuesday.

"No one goes back in there to work until the facility has been cleaned and is proven to be clean," Day said.

The new cleanup work is expected to cost about $35 million, including $22 million for work in Washington and $13 million in New Jersey.

Brentwood was closed Oct. 21 after being contaminated by anthrax sent in the mail. Two postal workers died of the disease.

That mail also contaminated the Hart building, which has since been sanitized and reopened.

Postal officials studied that process and are seeking to apply it to their much-larger facility. Brentwood contains 17.5 million cubic feet of space, while only about 100,000 cubic feet in the Hart building required gas treatment.

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