The U.S. Postal Service yesterday labeled as “false” recent reports that stated the closed Brentwood facility in Washington may not reopen.
Postal officials “continue to work with federal agencies and environmental experts on a plan to decontaminate the facility,” the agency's statement said. “The decontamination process is expected to begin after the Hart Senate Office Building has been certified safe.”
Meanwhile, health officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were scheduled to meet with USPS managers yesterday to discuss decontamination plans and details about the process at the Hart building. The USPS has not started decontaminating the Brentwood building yet.
“We were waiting to see what the results of the decontamination of the Hart building were,” said Gerry Krienkamp, a USPS spokesman. “There are lessons to be learned from that, and we have to see what information we can gather from what they did at the Hart building, see what we can apply and see what we have to change or do differently for our own facility.”
Though there are similarities between the Brentwood facility and the Hart building, Krienkamp said, there are differences that can affect the type of treatment used.
“Brentwood is a much bigger facility, for example,” he said.
The Brentwood facility is the main mail sorting center for the Washington area. It has been sealed since October when an anthrax-laced letter it handled was opened in the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-SD. Two Brentwood postal workers died from inhalation anthrax, and 20 others became sick from it. More than 350 postal workers at the Brentwood facility have been offered experimental anthrax vaccinations.
The USPS has said that it made alternative arrangements for processing mail in this area and that the closings are having a very limited effect on local delivery.