- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2002

The U.S. Postal Service will hold a press conference this morning to report on the results of the final test of the anthrax contaminated Brentwood postal facility, which officials said went according to plan.

Yesterday around 10 a.m., the Postal Service pumped 7,000 gallons of chlorine dioxide gas through its scrubber system, which is supposed to decontaminate the gas, to see if it could effectively neutralize and remove the toxic compound.

By evening, the 24-hour test had produced no complications or problems, according to spokeswoman Kristin Krathwohl.

The next step is for the Postal Service to hold its final public meeting next week to inform residents and the public how and when the fumigation will take place, and to reassure resident of their safety from ill effects. The D.C. Emergency Preparedness team also will attend the meeting to instruct residents on what will happen in the case of an emergency, said spokeswoman Deborah Yakley.

A location has not yet been chosen for the meeting.

Miss Yakley said full fumigation, which will occur in a few weeks, will pump in 40,000 gallons of chlorine dioxide at 7,500 to 15,000 cubic feet per minute and 100 to 2,000 parts per million, according to the onsite incident commander John Bridges.

The wastewater will be "tested and then evaluated for proper disposal," said Mr. Bridges.

The 7,000 gallons pumped through the scrubbers yesterday did not enter the Brentwood building, but were pumped directly into the scrubber system, which "renders it innocuous, and the byproducts will be salt and water," said Miss Krathwohl.

The Environmental Protection Agency's two Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) buses circled the building yesterday to monitor air quality and make sure no toxic gas leaked out.

The TAGA buses were used on July 29 when the Postal Service pumped five pounds of chlorine dioxide gas into a small section of the mail-processing line where two postal employees had breathed in the microbe in October and died from inhalation anthrax.

The Postal Service will issue a report of the scrubber test, which concluded around midmorning yesterday, and include it in its Remedial Action Plan to be submitted to the EPA later this week.

If the EPA approves the Remedial Action Plan, full-scale fumigation will take place in the next few weeks, Miss Krathwohl said.

"The EPA are the people that give us the go-ahead," she said.

"Everything has gone very well up to this point. We certainly don't expect anything to go wrong."

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