Postal Service Starts Test of Anthrax System

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The U.S. Postal Service begins testing a new biohazard detection system next week designed to provide an early warning for anthrax.


Tests will occur at about 14 postal facilities nationwide. After the 30-day testing period, postal officials will see whether modifications are needed before deploying the system nationally.


Thomas G. Day, USPS vice president of engineering, said the system was developed for the agency after postal managers consulted with the military, federal agencies and other experts. The postal service has tested the system at the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center for more than nine months.


"We have carefully reviewed ... results, and we are now confident that it is working successfully," he said.


Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Security Systems LLC and partners designed the prototype detection system and recently was awarded a USPS contract to manufacture a nationwide system. The contract for the first phase of deployment, which extends from January through October 2004, has a value of about $175 million.


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