Brentwood postal facility in Washington to reopen Friday

The Brentwood mail processing facility in Washington, which became tainted with anthrax during the 2001 anthrax attacks and was subsequently decontaminated, is set to reopen Friday, a Postal Service spokeswoman told Global Security Newswire Tuesday.

Administrative employees are scheduled to return to the facility Friday, the spokeswoman said, adding that the building has been renamed in honor of the two employees who were killed by anthrax. The facility was initially set to reopen by the end of last month, but the move was delayed because of the Thanksgiving holiday, said Deborah Yackley. She also said that the facility's return to full operation was expected within the "next few months."

Employees who worked at the Brentwood Road facility prior to the anthrax attacks were given the option of either returning to work at the facility once it was successfully decontaminated or being transferred to another site. Yackley said that "a small percentage" of the 2,000 facility employees have opted not to return.

"We're being very understanding about the issue," she said.

Modified operating procedures at the facility will require fewer personnel than was needed prior to the anthrax attacks, Yackley said. While the Brentwood Road facility previously handled mail both to and from Washington, it will now handle outgoing mail only, she said.

In addition, progress is also being made in decontaminating a mail facility in Hamilton, N.J., that was also affected by the anthrax attacks, Yackley said. She said the facility had been treated with chlorine dioxide to kill any lingering anthrax spores and that Postal Service officials were now awaiting the results of thousands of test strips placed inside the facility to determine if the effort had been successful.