The U.S. Postal Service is looking to buy several new filtration systems to detect biohazards in the mail, the agency said yesterday.
Mark Saunders, a USPS spokesman, said the selection process has narrowed candidates to approximately 10 vendors. Saunders said he expects testing to conclude in February. Once a vendor contract is signed, and depending on the vendor's ability to manufacture its product, a national rollout to nearly 300 mail processing plants should take place in less than two years.
A USPS official said such systems could be paid for using some of the $500 million the USPS will receive as part of the defense appropriations bill President Bush signed recently. The money may be used only for security measures, not to help the agency make up for lost revenue.
The official said the agency expects to send a report to Congress by February on how it plans to spend the $500 million. The money is in addition to $175 million given to the postal service for security measures shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks and anthrax exposures.
The postal service will continue, the official said, “discussions with Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge about additional funding for fiscal year 2003,” which begins in October.