Business Mail Sits in Bins as Another NJ Sorting Facility Is Closed

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Postal officials closed another New Jersey mail facility yesterday after another case of suspected skin anthrax developed there.

The facility is the South Jersey Processing and Distribution Center in Bellmawr, NJ, which is in Camden County. Postal officials halted all operations at the plant, which serves 159 local post offices and delivers mail to 1.1 million locations in southern New Jersey and parts of Delaware.

Mail will stay at the plant until tests show no anthrax is present, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said. Nearly all the facility's First-Class mail was delivered Wednesday, but bulk mail, business class and advertisements remained.

The Bellmawr plant is 35 miles from the Hamilton postal facility, which handled at least three anthrax-tainted letters.

Four New Jersey postal workers have confirmed cases of anthrax and a fifth was treated with antibiotics before his suspected case of skin anthrax could be confirmed. They worked at either the Hamilton regional mail processing center or the West Trenton post office.

Currently, the USPS said four postal facilities in New Jersey are temporarily closed: the Hamilton and Bellmawr plants and the Princeton and West Trenton post offices.

According to the USPS' Web site, full delivery will resume by Saturday for residents and businesses served by the Princeton Post Office, although the facility will remain closed for further environmental testing. No one at the Princeton post office is ill.

The Bellmawr development comes just one day after postmaster general John E. Potter and other officials said advertising mail is safe and will not be affected by the anthrax scare.

"We deliver to 137 million addresses every day," Potter told a Senate hearing Tuesday. "We have a handful of letter that have moved through the system that have caused death and disease. But in terms of what is in the mailbox [catalogs, bills, letters] that mail is safe."

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