|With Anthrax Cleanup
Delayed, Maryland Offices Continue to Get Brentwood Mail|
Capital News Service
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001
WASHINGTON - Suburban Maryland facilities will continue to receive mail
from a closed Washington, D.C., center while postal officials look for the
best way to sanitize the facility where anthrax-tainted letters were
linked to the deaths of two workers.
Postal centers in
Gaithersburg, Capitol Heights and College Park have been getting rerouted
mail from the Brentwood facility in Northeast Washington, which was shut
down Oct. 21 after traces of anthrax were found on the premises.
had hoped to have Brentwood reopened around Thanksgiving. Now, they say,
they are hoping for a year-end return to operations, although no official
reopening date has been set.
The Postal Service said Tuesday that
it is waiting to see results of cleanup efforts in the Hart Senate Office
Building before deciding how to proceed on Brentwood. Hart was closed Oct.
17 after an anthrax-tainted letter was discovered in the office of Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-N.D.
Deborah Yackley, a spokeswoman for
the Postal Service in the Washington region, said that the procedures used
to sanitize Hart might be adopted to clean the much larger Brentwood
facility, depending on their effectiveness. "The clean-up procedure
is kind of an experimental thing," Yackley said.
building must be cleaned, then tested to make sure all hazardous materials
were killed. If anthrax is still detected, the process starts over.
the meantime, Yackley said, mail from Brentwood is being diverted to the
Suburban Maryland Processing and Distribution Center in Gaithersburg, the
Southern Maryland Processing and Distribution Center in Capitol Heights
and the Calvert Processing Center in College Park. She said it is possible
that officials will know by next week how effective the Hart cleanup
Procedures may include a combination of a liquid solution of
chlorine to kill the anthrax, a vacuum to collect the spores and a gas
that kills the bacteria, she said.
But Lt. Dan Nichols, a spokesman for
the U.S. Capitol Police, could not say late Tuesday when Hart might
reopen. He said no plan for sanitizing the building has been agreed on,
but that it would likely include fumigating parts of the building with
Nichols' comments came as he announced Tuesday that
traces of anthrax had been found this weekend in the office suites of Sen.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. Both offices
were tested last month and declared clean, but retested this weekend after
an anthrax-tainted letter, this one addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.,
was discovered. All three senators have offices in the Russell
The Leahy letter was found in a batch of quarantined
Capitol mail that was being held at a Northern Virginia mail
Yackley and Jerry Lane, district manager of the Postal
Service, had been scheduled to brief local Maryland officials Tuesday on
the status of the Brentwood reopening. That briefing was canceled due to
scheduling conflicts, before Nichols announced the new anthrax
The briefing was to include Montgomery County Executive
Douglas Duncan, Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, Rep. Albert
Wynn, D-Largo, and Rep. Connie Morella, R-Bethesda. But Morella remains
confident that Brentwood mail being handled in Gaithersburg poses no
health threat, an aide said.
"In reality, the mail at this
point is extremely safe," said Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for Morella,
adding that there have been no cases of anthrax exposure in the county.
Copyright © 2001 University of Maryland College of
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