Washington-area postal facility gets clean bill of health

The Postal Service Tuesday announced that its main processing plant in the nation's capital is clean of all traces of anthrax. The 17.5 million cubic foot Brentwood facility has been closed since October 2001, when an anthrax-tainted letter moved through it en route to Sen. Tom Daschle's office.

The facility, which processes mail for all Washington-area federal agencies and Congress, is expected to reopen sometime this summer. Before that happens, the building will be renovated with new carpeting and paint.

"I'm very pleased by the results," said Thomas Day, vice president of engineering for the agency. "USPS worked extremely hard to identify the best technology and processes to decontaminate the [facility]. These efforts were worth it. The safety of our employees and the people we serve demands no less."

More than 5,000 environmental samples taken in the building after it was decontaminated last December came back negative for any sign of anthrax. A team of safety, health and environmental experts from various federal and local agencies reviewed the samples. The team operated independently of the Postal Service.

Agency leaders came under heavy criticism from Brentwood employees in October 2001 for keeping the building open even after the anthrax-tainted letter was discovered in Daschle's office.

Now, Postal Service executives and managers have to prepare more than 2,000 workers to return to a building where two of their colleagues were fatally exposed to the bacteria.It's a difficult task, said Duane Buchanan, manager of distribution operations at a temporary postal facility in Northeast Washington.

"There will be a mix of emotions, but many of the employees I talked with are looking forward to getting back," he said. "It's home. You don't realize how much you appreciate your own place, your home, until you are away from it for a while."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.