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Judicial Watch • JW v Postal Service GOA report 01101

JW v Postal Service GOA report 01101

JW v Postal Service GOA report 01101

Page 1: JW v Postal Service GOA report 01101

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Number of Pages:144

Date Created:March 11, 2004

Date Uploaded to the Library:September 06, 2018

Tags:hgovref, verdate, Curseen, GOA, 01101, Brentwood, Postal, Norton, facility, Morris, GORDON, Chairman, Employees, health, Davis, service, FBI, department, EPA


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OPEN FOR BUSINESS: ENSURING EMPLOYEE AND
CUSTOMER SAFETY THE FORMER
BRENTWOOD POSTAL FACILITY
HEARING
BEFORE THE
COMMITTEE
GOVERNMENT REFORM
HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION
OCTOBER 23, 2003
Serial No. 108 107
Printed for the use the Committee Government Reform
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpo.gov/congress/house
http://www.house.gov/reform
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON 921 PDF
2004
For sale the Superintendent Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512 1800; area (202) 512 1800
Fax: (202) 512 2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, 20402 0001
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COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT REFORM
TOM DAVIS, Virginia, Chairman
DAN BURTON, Indiana
HENRY WAXMAN, California
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
MAJOR OWENS, New York
JOHN MCHUGH, New York
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York
JOHN MICA, Florida
PAUL KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania
MARK SOUDER, Indiana
CAROLYN MALONEY, New York
STEVEN LATOURETTE, Ohio
ELIJAH CUMMINGS, Maryland
DOUG OSE, California
DENNIS KUCINICH, Ohio
RON LEWIS, Kentucky
DANNY DAVIS, Illinois ANN DAVIS, Virginia
JOHN TIERNEY, Massachusetts
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
DIANE WATSON, California
ADAM PUTNAM, Florida
STEPHEN LYNCH, Massachusetts
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
JOHN DUNCAN, JR., Tennessee
LINDA SANCHEZ, California
JOHN SULLIVAN, Oklahoma
C.A. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER, Maryland
NATHAN DEAL, Georgia
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District
CANDICE MILLER, Michigan
Columbia
TIM MURPHY, Pennsylvania
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
CHRIS BELL, Texas
JOHN CARTER, Texas
WILLIAM JANKLOW, South Dakota
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
(Independent)
PETER SIRH, Staff Director
MELISSA WOJCIAK, Deputy Staff Director
ROB BORDEN, Parliamentarian
TERESA AUSTIN, Chief Clerk
PHILIP SCHILIRO, Minority Staff Director
(II)
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CONTENTS
Hearing held October 23, 2003 ..........................................................................
Statement of:
Reid, Myke, assistant legislative director, American Postal Workers
Union, AFL CIO, accompanied Corey Thompson; and Richard Collins, assistant the national president, National Postal Mail Handlers
Union, accompanied Cynthia Vines .......................................................
Ungar, Bernard L., Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, U.S. General
Accounting Office; Keith Rhodes, Chief Technologist, Center for Technology and Engineering, Applied Research and Methods; Janet
Heinrich, Director, Health Care and Public Health Issues; Davis
Layne, Deputy Assistant Secretary Labor, Occupational Safety and
Health Administration, U.S. Department Labor; Thomas Day, vice
president engineering, U.S. Postal Service; and Jerry Lane, manager Capital Metro Operations, U.S. Postal Service ......................................
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Collins, Richard, assistant the national president, National Postal
Mail Handlers Union, prepared statement .............................................
Cummings, Hon. Elijah E., Representative Congress from the State Maryland, prepared statement ............................................................
Davis, Chairman Tom, Representative Congress from the State
Virginia:
Letter dated November 20, 2003 ..............................................................
Prepared statement ...............................................................................
Day, Thomas, vice president engineering, U.S. Postal Service, prepared
statement ...................................................................................................
Gordon, Theodore, District Columbia Department Health, prepared
statement ...................................................................................................
Lane, Jerry, manager Capital Metro Operations, U.S. Postal Service,
prepared statement ...................................................................................
Layne, Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department Labor, prepared
statement ...................................................................................................
Norton, Hon. Eleanor Holmes, Representative Congress from the
District Columbis, prepared statement ...............................................
Reid, Myke, assistant legislative director, American Postal Workers
Union, AFL CIO, prepared statement ....................................................
Ungar, Bernard L., Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, U.S. General
Accounting Office, prepared statement ...................................................
106
121
(III)
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OPEN FOR BUSINESS: ENSURING EMPLOYEE
AND CUSTOMER SAFETY THE FORMER
BRENTWOOD POSTAL FACILITY
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2003
HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT REFORM,
Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant notice, 1:30 a.m., room
2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Tom Davis (chairman the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Tom Davis and Norton.
Staff present: Peter Sirh, staff director; Keith Ausbrook, chief
counsel; Jack Callender, counsel; Robert Borden, counsel/parliamentarian; David Marin, director communications; Teresa Austin, chief clerk; Brien Beattie, deputy clerk; Shalley Kim, legislative assistant; Corinne Zaccagnini, chief information officer; Rosalind Parker, minority counsel; Earley Green, minority chief clerk;
Jean Gosa, minority assistant clerk; and Cecelia Morton, minority
office manager.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Good afternoon. The committee will come order. Ms. Norton will join shortly.
Before proceed with opening statements, the Postal Service
and the American Postal Workers Union have asked videotape
today hearing, and without objection, the Postal Service and the
American Postal Workers Union should allowed record today
hearing, subject the requirements House Rule XI, including
the prohibition the use video coverage part some campaign material. here today discuss the cleanup and the reopening the
U.S. Postal Service Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr.
Processing and Distribution Center Brentwood Road Washington, DC. all remember the terrible events October 2001,
when the dedicated postal employees the Brentwood Processing
Center joined the front lines the war terrorism. Tragically,
two workers, Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris, lost their lives anthrax, which passed through the building letters addressed Senators Daschle and Leahy. Two other postal workers were infected and the building has remained closed this day. July 2001, the Subcommittee the District Columbia held hearing the Postal Service plan clean and reopen the facility, effort which that point was just beginning. Now, with the
cleanup complete and reopening scheduled for next month,
following that hearing.
(1)
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The Postal Service, consultation with scientists and experts
from various Federal and local agencies, conducted the largest anthrax decontamination using chlorine dioxide our Nation history. This hearing will examine the conduct the cleanup, the
manner which the Postal Service determined the building was
safe reoccupy and how well the Postal Service communicated
with its workers.
Let reemphasize that last point. Over the next few months,
the Postal Service will asking its employees reenter the building where two their colleagues were killed invisible airborne germ. goes without saying that they afraid. partial
cure for their fears complete, open communication about the
cleanup and about their options.
Yesterday, learned that suspicious package found the
Greenville, Air Mail Facility was confirmed contain ricin,
deadly plant toxin. Although appears that ricin escaped the
package, the facility was shut down for environmental testing last
night. This was developing situation, don expect hear the
full story this hearing but how the Postal Service handles the
situation Greenville will certainly show how well they have
learned the lessons Brentwood. also certain that the news the Greenville incident will weigh heavily the minds postal
employees around the country the coming days and weeks,
need certain that appropriate time and resources are aimed answering whatever questions concerns they may have. have two panels witnesses today. the first panel are
Bernard Ungar, frequent testifier here from the General Accounting Office, who has been examining the Postal Service communication with its employees. have Thomas Day, the Postal Service vice president engineering, and Jerry Lane, the president Capitol Metro Operations, both whom have been intimately involved every aspect the cleanup and its reopening; Davis Layne from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Theodore Gordon,
the District Columbia Department Health. OSHA and the
D.C. Department Health helped plan the cleanup and participated the Environmental Clearance Committee, which reviewed
the cleanup. the second panel, have Dick Collins the National Postal
Mail Handlers Union, and Myke Reid the American Postal
Workers Union. Together they represent most the craft employees who will returning this facility. want thank everybody for coming, especially light the
schedule change. addition these witnesses, the National Association Letter Carriers and Councilman Vincent Orange the
District Columbia were invited testify but unfortunately
couldn attend today hearing. Without objection, their written
testimony will included and placed the record Ms. Norton
had requested. also understand that Keith Rhodes and Jan Heinrich with GAO
are here. swear them because may asking
them questions. now recognize the distinguished Delegate from
the District Columbia, Ms. Norton.
[The prepared statement Chairman Tom Davis follows:]
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Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Chairman Davis. When
approached Chairman Davis ask about hearing the
Curseen-Morris Postal Facility, formerly known Brentwood,
held prior its reopening, readily agreed. good friend Tom
Davis has sincere gratitude for today hearing. This the second conventional hearing Curseen-Morris and the first full committee hearing since anthrax was discovered the building, resulting two tragic deaths and serious illness two employees and
subjecting other employees medical regimen, including the
drug Cipro.
Last year, requested field hearing concerning this facility.
was held July 26, 2002, bring the Congress the community
and encourage attendance residents and employees time
when there was still uncertainty and rumors concerning health and
safety matters. However, today hearing appropriately before
the full committee and here the Congress itself. Curseen-Morris responsible for congressional mail and all mail Federal buildings this area, well mail residents, businesses and others this city and region.
Moreover, despite the independence the Postal Service, Congress has the ultimate responsibility ensure that postal facilities
here and around the Nation are not exposed bioterrorism. said last year hearing that before employees the public returned Curseen-Morris, would request hearing investigate whether reentering building where there had been two tragic deaths
well illnesses employees posed any risks. that hearing,
asked the CDC conduct epidemiological similar study
compare the health workers from Brentwood with the health
workers who have never worked anthrax-contaminated facility. addition, along with Member the Senate and Member the House who does not serve this committee, requested
GAO report the anthrax episode from its origins its effects. say again that believe order reassure employees, public officials should the first enter the buildings before employees
are asked return work, and pleased that postal and
union officials have said they want part reentry.
The job decontaminating 632,000 square foot facility, where
2,400 employees worked has precedent anywhere the world which aware. have obligation today learn whether
the Postal Service has done right, try determine whether
such event could occur again, and learn how prevent any
such reoccurrence here elsewhere. The new proposed irradiation
facility the property also raises new issues that require explanation. Besides the paramount issue safety and security for
human beings this virtually new facility, will interested learn the witnesses can lay rest such matters the invidious comparison some have made between the Hart and Brentwood
cleanups and the delay closing the facility. hope that today hearing will provide enough information
allow put behind one the most serious and tragic episodes American workplace history. However, let never forget
Joseph Curseen, Jr., and Thomas Morris, Jr., the employees who
died the old Brentwood facility. renaming the building for
these dedicated employees and family men, both born and raised
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PsN: HGOVREF1 the District, where the facility located, will reminded our obligation make this and every other workplace our city
and our country safe from bioterrorism. thank you, again, Mr. Chairman, and welcome today witnesses.
[The prepared statement Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. Well, thank you very much. will now
move our first panel. you would rise with me, our custom swear witnesses. Raise your right hands.
[Witnesses sworn.]
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much. think you know the rules the committee. Your entire statement the record. try keep the testimony minutes. have questions formed, Ms. Norton and terms what want ask you, but you can highlight that the minutes.
When your light turns orange, means minutes are and,
when turns red, minutes. you could start summarize
that point and, Mr. Ungar, start with you and move
right down.
STATEMENTS BERNARD UNGAR, DIRECTOR, PHYSICAL
INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; KEITH RHODES, CHIEF TECHNOLOGIST, CENTER FOR
TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING, APPLIED RESEARCH AND
METHODS; JANET HEINRICH, DIRECTOR, HEALTH CARE AND
PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES; DAVIS LAYNE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND
HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT LABOR;
THOMAS DAY, VICE PRESIDENT ENGINEERING, U.S.
POSTAL SERVICE; JERRY LANE, MANAGER CAPITAL
METRO OPERATIONS, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE; AND THEODORE GORDON, DISTRICT COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT
HEALTH
Mr. UNGAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ms. Norton. are certainly pleased here assist the committee looking the
reopening the Curseen-Morris mail facility Brentwood. you
indicated this morning, Mr. Chairman, accompanied Keith
Rhodes and Janet Heinrich, who are experts the various fields our office related this issue, and also Jay Bryant and Jack
Melling from GAO, who can help answer questions you get into
some real technical topics.
The tragic events that unfolded October 2001 Brentwood
were indeed unfortunate. key lesson that was learned that experience that there high risk the mail being used intentionally conduit for hazardous substances cause harm,
whether intended for postal employee someone outside the
Postal Service. Accordingly the Postal Service, public health agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and others must prepared manage and deal with this risk and address these kinds incidents when they occur.
What would like short summary this afternoon
just focus one key area which significant lesson was
learned, and that the area communication with employees.
This was very problematic issue back the fall 2001, especially the Brentwood facility. lot the information that was
provided the Brentwood employees changed over the course
time due changing largely due changing public health knowledge anthrax and its implications during that period time. Unfortunately, much the information that was given Brentwood
employees October 2001 turned out be, least initially given
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PsN: HGOVREF1 these employees, turned out incorrect. This incorrect information, along with what the employees Brentwood would regard delay the Postal Service closing the facility generated considerable amount employee distrust management and
concern.
The problems Brentwood obviously make clear, least the
problems that occurred back 2001, that accurate and clear information employees critical, now even more than before. Unfortunately, recently, the Postal Service informed the employees
who are likely return Brentwood that, the one hand
more fortunate sense, the facility safe. has been looked at. The
decontamination effort has taken place, the various public health
and other authorities have looked the test results, assessed the
decontamination and decided and determined after review all
that information that the facility safe, and certainly have
information the contrary. the other hand, unfortunately, the
Postal Service also told employees that there absolutely risk returning the facility and that the facility 100 percent free anthrax contamination. According the Postal Service, unfortunately, this was inadvertent communication that had not fully
been reviewed throughout the Postal Service, and the real dilemma
here that one cannot say, according CDC and other authorities, that there absolutely risk returning the facility and
that can 100 percent sure that there anthrax the
facility.
While likely very little, any, there and likely not major significant risk, nonetheless, one cannot say that
there absolutely risk. have discussed this issue with the
Postal Service, and has agreed very quickly and promptly provide corrected information the employees who may return, and
this important because the Postal Service has given these employees choice whether return different facility,
and will obviously important that they have full and correct
information before they return.
With that, Mr. Chairman and Ms. Norton, would like conclude summary statement.
[The prepared statement Mr. Ungar follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.
Mr. Layne.
Mr. LAYNE. Mr. Chairman, members the committee, thank you
for the opportunity testify today about the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration leadership protecting workers from
anthrax exposure and our role preparing for the reopening the
Curseen and Morris Processing and Distribution Center.
OSHA mission ensure safe and healthful working conditions for America working men and women. Protecting workers
from biohazards, such anthrax, critical part OSHA role
and the Nation domestic preparedness and emergency response
efforts.
Now, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the employer responsibility protect the health and safety its workers. 1998, amendment the OSH Act broadened the definition employer include the U.S. Postal Service.
OSHA has been working alongside USPS since the investigation
into the deaths the facility from inhalation anthrax spores
began. OSHA joined USPS its Joint Command Center shortly
after was established provide unified approach sampling
tests and decontamination for all USPS facilities and coordinate
those sampling and subsequent response actions with key stakeholders.
OSHA also provided technical support the Incident Command
Center established the USPS for the Curseen and Morris Center
decontamination. Members OSHA Health Response Team, with
specialties ranging from analytical microbiology building ventilation, had been onsite various times throughout the last years,
advising the USPS. fact, the USPS air sampling plan was developed with OSHA assistance. Our staff reviewed safety and health
plans and worked with the USPS and its contractors training
procedures for the use personal protective equipment, such
respirators. addition technical support, OSHA even ensured
that employers the site were involved the remediation effort provide workplace free hazards their employees ensuring compliance with applicable OSHA standards. final plans were made fumigate the building with chlorine
dioxide gas, OSHA joined the USPS its Joint Information Center enhance communications about the decontamination work.
OSHA staff also made presentations town hall meetings, reminding postal employees their right file complaints about
Brentwood unsafe unhealthy working conditions directly with
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Following the decontamination March 2003, OSHA sent letter the Incident Commander the Curseen and Morris Center,
expressing the agency concurrence with the conclusion USPS
safety and health staff that remedial efforts had successfully eliminated any significant risk anthrax disease for its occupants
this building, thus allowing workers enter the building without
respiratory protection for most the activities. These conclusions
were based upon sampling results and analysis, well assessment safety and health plans formed OSHA certified industrial hygienists.
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PsN: HGOVREF1 postal employees return Curseen and Morris, OSHA will
continue respond any safety and health complaints filed its
employees, well requests from USPS and its contractors.
The agency also prepared investigate accidents any other
hazardous situation that occurs the facility. also have broadened our outreach and informational activities help employers and workers address threats biological
and chemical hazards. developed and continued refine sampling methods for detecting anthrax spores the air and large
surfaces such floors and walls. created Web-based e-tool
that provides training and information about anthrax and also increased our expertise dealing with threats and other incidents national significance. will soon complete our own national
emergency management plan for OSHA national and regional office personnel well.
Since September 11, 2001, have become aware new threats workers lives from acts terrorism and the use biotoxins
weapons mass destruction. OSHA continually evaluating and
making changes its programs respond this new threat.
Postal workers have been the front line this war against terrorism and our responsibility provide all the help that
can protecting their lives.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement Mr. Layne follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.
Mr. Day.
Mr. DAY. Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and members the
committee. appreciate the opportunity speak with you today
about the Postal Service planned reentry into the Curseen-Morris
Processing and Distribution Center here Washington, DC. With today Jerry Lane, the manager Capital Metro Operations. believe today hearing reflection your commitment both individuals and committee the cooperative process that
will return this facility safe and productive use for our employees and for the Brentwood community. has been challenging years, but have achieved our goal,
the successful decontamination the Curseen-Morris facility.
While are pleased have come this far, cannot forget the
awful events that set this process motion. Joseph Curseen, Jr.
and Thomas Morris, Jr. tragically lost their lives. Many others suffered terribly when they became infected with anthrax. They will
never far from our minds, and that why the planning processes and technology that relied upon decontaminate the
Curseen-Morris facility could only the best and had done
right. became apparent very quickly that would writing the
book this subject, and was book grand scale, scale million cubic feet precise, but had great deal
help from experts the military, government and private sector.
Our partners included the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, District Columbia Department Health, U.S. Environment Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, well our three contractors, Ashland, Sabre, and Shaw. course, the
generous help Congress and the administration making $762
million available the Postal Service respond the anthrax attack was also critical part the success.
The process reclaiming the Curseen-Morris facility actually
began October 21, 2001, when was closed. While our primary
focus was the safety our employees, also had address operational issues such the disposition the million pieces mail
that remained the building. arranged for the irradiation
this mail contractor sites Ohio and later New Jersey before was returned Washington for processing and delivery.
Once the mail was removed from the building, completely
sealed and developed thorough decontamination plan. Qualified
contractors began cleaning known contaminated surfaces the
building. Pumping and mixing stations were constructed for the
chlorine dioxide that would used for the decontamination. Scrubbers were used remove the chlorine from the building and
backup systems were put place. tested every element our
gas manufacturing, delivery, and scrubber system ensure they
operated properly. Safety was the watchword. expert Environmental Clearance Committee was formed
July 2002 provide independent evaluation our cleanup and
testing efforts determine could ultimately reoccupy the
building. That decision would not made the Postal Service.
Committee members included representatives and want
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through the list because they were great help us, although
there are several mention here but they included the Office
the Chief Medical Examiner the District Columbia, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute Occupational Safety and Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Army
Center for Health, Protection, and Preventive Medicine, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the District Columbia Department Health, the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, and the University Minnesota School Public
Health all participated ECC members. December 14, 2002, fumigation began. established and
maintained temperature degrees Fahrenheit and relative
humidity percent within the building. This was necessary
any anthrax spores would receptive the neutralizing ability the chlorine dioxide gas. Chlorine dioxide was then pumped into
the building until reached concentration 750 parts per million, and maintained that concentration level for hours.
Afterwards, sampling results confirmed that the fumigation process
was successful. used more than 6,000 surrogate spore strips
ensure that the chlorine dioxide permeated the facility. All the
surface samples and aggressive air samples showed growth. February 26, 2003, members the Environmental Clearance
Committee were able enter the building without personal protective equipment and agreed, The fumigation the Curseen-Morris
facility met the criterion that the U.S. Postal Service and the District Columbia established for successful fumigation effort.
That standard was spore growth. May 30, 2003, the ECC concluded the fumigation was successful and began restoring the building. The restoration now
near completion. More than 600 tons debris has been removed.
The entire facility has been cleaned and painted, the medical unit
replaced, restrooms rebuilt, electrical and telecommunications wiring replaced, cafeteria kitchen renovated, mail processing equipment renovated and rebuilt, ceiling tiles replaced, employee lockers
installed, safety and emergency systems modernized, repaired
replaced, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems upgraded, the retail area and the office space has been modernized.
And finally, would note, Delivery Bar Code Sorter #17, the machine that processed the letters for Senators Daschle and Leahy,
the most contaminated spot the building, longer exists. was
dismantled, removed, and shredded. assigned full-time safety professional the facility ensure safe and healthy working environment for our employees
and contractors renovating the facility and, conjunction with
OSHA, implemented aggressive post-fumigation, transitional
sampling program with particular attention many areas that
were disturbed construction. More than 1,000 wet-wipe surface
samples have been taken, dried filter units located throughout the
building have been sampling air around construction areas, and
that sampling also includes the use high-efficiency, particulate
air filters. Every sample has tested negative for anthrax. These
test results are made available employees every day.
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using air sampling mail processing areas. sophisticated sampling system will provide rapid onsite DNA analysis air samples. Baccillus anthracis detected, the building will evacuated,
local health and public safety officials alerted, can quickly
take appropriate action protect those employees who may have
been inside. also note, given the events the last day Greenville,
SC, have well-established nationwide process for dealing with
suspicious mail. Last Wednesday, employee the Greenville, Airmail Facility Annex did what she had been trained do:
she recognized letter that looked suspicious; she notified her supervisor. The letter was isolated and contained. Local officials were
contacted, well the FBI. The HAZMAT team responded and
removed the suspicious letter from the building. When were
contacted the CDC and the FBI let know that they fact
found ricin through their testing, then took the next steps for hours close the facility, bring medical officials speak
with all those employees that would the facility. would point
out that the entire process demonstration how seriously
take these matters and how well the process can work when employees are trained and know what look for.
Right now, mail for delivery Federal Government offices the
District Columbia continues irradiated. Last week, announced proposal locate mail irradiation facility Washington. The preferred site the property the Curseen-Morris
Processing Center. local facility would reduce costs, improve delivery time and minimize logistic and security requirements.
will work closely with the community and its elected representatives develop this proposal. pleased report that September 19, the Environmental
Clearance Committee concluded, the remediation was successful, that rigorous sampling was unable find any residual viable spores, that workers can safely return and that normal service the public can safely resume. certainly welcome this finding.
Mr. Chairman, prepare restore operations the
Curseen-Morris Processing and Distribution Center, our memory
those days guides what today. will continue our efforts explore the latest technology and process solutions protect our
employees, our customers and the mail.
Mr. Chairman, appreciate your time and interest learning
more about our efforts reenter the Curseen-Morris facility and
would pleased answer your questions.
Thank you.
[The prepared statement Mr. Day follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.
Mr. Lane.
Mr. LANE. Good afternoon, Chairman Davis and members the
committee.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Your microphone don think on.You
have button there. There go.
Mr. LANE. try again.
Good afternoon, Chairman Davis and members the committee.
Thank you for this opportunity speak with you today about the
efforts the Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr. Processing and Distribution Center. October 2001, the U.S. Postal Service, its employees, and its
customers, became victims series unprecedented and insidious acts bioterrorism. result, the Curseen-Morris facility
has been closed since October 21, 2001. This facility major mail
processing and distribution center for the Washington, DC, area.
Despite losing their primary mail processing center, Capital District employees continue provide mail service the residents
the Washington, DC, area, among the best service levels ever. the time the facility was closed, was the Capital District
manager. office was the Brentwood Road facility, understand anxiety and uncertainty and the concern that these attacks
caused employees. These are coworkers. Their safety and
health and the public safety has been and will continue our
paramount concern. also worked closely with the Centers for
Disease Control and the District Columbia Department Health assist their efforts provide medication all employees.
During the weeks following the anthrax attacks, public health officials were uncertain about the extent the exposure and risk, supplied our employees with protective masks and gloves.
worked very hard reduce the impact the facility closing
our employees. quickly moved operations alternative locations. Employees were struggling with new routines for getting
work, provided no-cost transportation bring employees
these locations for the first months. continue reimburse
employees who drive beyond their normal route who take public
transportation get these temporary locations. understood that communications was key. made point communicating actively and cooperatively with everyone every
way involved, including the District Columbia Government, our
employees, their unions, and local residents and businesses.
participated numerous town hall employee meetings, sent out
community-wide mail links, provided toll-free numbers for additional information, posted current information the USPS Web
site, and held weekly coordinated information sessions. Those employees who returned work the Curseen-Morris Processing
and Distribution Center offered fit test for mask. The use these masks strictly voluntary. understand that some employees may prefer the added sense security they provide. established extensive communication plan ensure that
all employees are aware all aspects the cleanup and aftermath the Curseen Processing Distribution Center. part the communication plan, had been providing our maintenance employees who had returned the facility with daily safety talks, daily
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sampling reports, and employee publications specific information about the process. There was also open door policy with
onsite safety professional for any safety and health concerns that
employees have voiced immediately addressed. There has been lot information out there, and want our employees know
what know, when know it, the communication plan also
established communication facilitators all locations all shifts
who are responsible for disseminating stand-up talks, gathering
questions, and maintaining the Curseen-Morris update bulletin
boards. But sometimes employees want ask questions the experts, have had number employee town hall meetings well.
Our communication plan also included many other ways providing employees with timely and accurate information. provide
right-to-know forms the time clocks. Employees can mail the
forms and receive prompt replies their questions. established 800 number where calls are returned within the next
business day. special number was also established for deaf and
hard-of-hearing employees. have held biweekly telecoms with
all unions keep them informed the progress the facility.
have given local unions two private tours the facility show
them the progress the restoration. Tom Day mentioned, the
restoration the building includes new medical facility which
will have 24-hour doctor and nurse available. have held
number focus groups with employees discuss their concerns
and anxiety about returning, and will continue have employee assistance counseling programs available monitor employee stress and anxiety. will also providing briefings, training, and publications employee stress reoccupy the facility. work closely with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration develop site-specific health and safety plan designed ensure our employees safety the facility throughout
the restoration and reconstruction. have established multifunctional team, including private
sector expertise, implement human resource plan. This plan
would ensure that all Curseen-Morris employees are provided with
the information, tools and training they need feel safe and
productive when they return. With this mind, have agreed
with our national unions accommodate all requests for permanent reassignment other facilities.
Our schedule calls for the administrative staff return work late November. anticipate retail and limited mail processing
operations follow within weeks. the end the day, want
this facility the best, the safest, and the finest representation the men and women who worked there for many years. reentry committee, with employee and union representation, planning reentry ceremony which will also serve dedicate the
building honor Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr. recognize this facility importance the local community.
Now that the Environmental Committee has concluded that the
fumigation was successful and employees can safely return, look
forward reopening the facility and restoring its critical role serving the people Washington, DC, and the Nation.
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Thank you, Chairman Davis and the committee, and
happy respond any questions.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement Mr. Lane follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. Mr. Gordon.
Mr. GORDON. Good afternoon, Chairman Davis, and Honorable
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. name Theodore
Gordon. the senior deputy director for environmental health
science and regulation for the District Columbia Department
Health. behalf Mayor Anthony Williams and Mr. James
Buford, the director the Department Health, appreciate the
opportunity present testimony the reopening the U.S. Postal Service Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr. Mail Processing Distribution Center, formerly known Brentwood. With
today are key staff involved the decontamination and reoccupation the Curseen-Morris facility. has been previously noted, October 2001, letters containing
anthrax spores sent the Hart Senate Office Building also contaminated this postal facility. Mr. Chairman, the Department
Health has collaborated since October 21, 2001 carry out the
process decontamination the Curseen-Morris facility. Our comments will focus providing update the role the Department Health the decontamination this facility. you know, this the largest chlorine dioxide fumigation process undertaken the country. The process has three steps. The
first step prefumigation planning, the second step chlorine dioxide fumigation the facility, and the third step
postfumigation and cleaning and reoccupancy.
Very early the process, the Department Health assembled the Brentwood Scientific Advisory Committee and charged with assessing whether the work done the facility was done
according applicable Federal and District Columbia regulations and science. This included specialists the fields microbiology, engineering, medicine, epidemiology, toxicology, and environmental health. The committee included members the postal
union and community members from ward where the facility
located. The Honorable Vincent Orange, Sr., councilmember for
ward council the District Columbia, also served member this committee. The Department Health contributed
each the ward community meetings convened the U.S. Postal Service and participated each postal worker technical information meeting.
The Brentwood Scientific Committee provided advice the Postal Service, with strong commitment reduce the risk decontamination the facility and ensure the safety the public.
The major technical issues concern the Department Health
from the beginning are, one, effectiveness the decontamination;
two, the proper chlorine dioxide dosage; three, the postfumigation
sampling protocols; and, four, shutdown authority and reoccupancy
clearance. this regard, have collaborated with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, EPA, the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Institute review the results from the following: the Sampling and Analysis
Plan; the wall cavity sampling demonstration plan; the ambient air
monitoring plan; the line fumigation remedial action plan; the
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negative pressure plan testing plan; the scrubber tests, including
carbon bed test; and the remedial action plan.
The Department reviewed and advised the Postal Service the
air dispersion modeling plan and issued several permits for testing
and operation boilers, air handling units, and negative air pressure systems. were onsite during all phases the fumigation
with the Environmental Protection Agency monitor the air the
surrounding neighborhoods. order provide independent evaluation cleanup and
testing efforts undertaken the Postal Service the CurseenMorris Processing and Distribution Center July 2002, the Department Health agreed partner with the Postal Service and
experts from CDC, EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, and the American Armed
Forces Radiobiology Institute, establishing the Environmental
Clearance Committee. The goal the ECC has been evaluate results for remediation ultimately provide recommendation for
reoccupancy. might point out that the D.C. Department Health set clearance standard the onset before this entire process non-detection. There was anthrax prior October 2001 and will not
permit anyone occupy this building find any results anthrax through our testing process. have been successful
achieving that objective.
The ECC consists experts from the various technical disciplines representing variety Federal and local agencies and
academia. representative from the Department Health and the
Environmental Protection Agency served co-chairpersons for the
ECC. Their deliberations have involved number steps and
stages, numerous meetings, technical briefings, consultations, recommendations, and subgroup reviews that have been used
evaluate technical issues. The ECC members also visited the facility for walk-through February and September 2003. closing, the Department Health believes that the science
and technology available has been used identify and kill active,
live anthrax spores the Curseen-Morris facility. The Department
remains steadfast its commitment that the facility safe for reoccupancy. recommend reoccupancy this building, and that
the risk absolutely minimum.
Thank you for the opportunity come before you and discuss
this important effort. happy answer any questions.
Thank you.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement Mr. Gordon follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. gather from the testimony that everybody feels comfortable about the new building, but nobody can say 100 percent safe; that fair? Anybody want raise their hand
and say 100 percent safe?
OK. Have all you been through the building? Have all you
been through the building?
Mr. DAY. been the building.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Ms. Norton and would like through
the building before opens and like you all join us.
need feel safe. would like see the facility anyway, tremendous effort, and like you join next week
doing that.
Before get the cleanup the building, want ask
not sure who address this but understanding this goes yesterday incident South Carolina. understanding that
the envelope that was found contain ricin was indeed labeled
ricin the exterior; that correct? Does anyone know?
Mr. DAY. can speak what know, Mr. Chairman. The letter
was addressed, understand, DOT. pertains dissatisfaction with some recent rules that DOT has passed
regards
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Right, understand. Possibly was disgruntled worker something.
Mr. DAY. And was labeled that way and indicated was ricin content, part the threat.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. And gets that. But the facility wasn
immediately closed upon being labeled ricin was it?
Mr. DAY. No, was not.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Now, someone had called and said,
there bomb threat, would the facility have been closed immediately would have stopped and looked it?
Mr. DAY. have different procedures, depending upon the
threat. Just give you some frame reference, had over
20,000 suspicious substance incidents the Postal Service over the
course the last years, better than incidents per day
average, quite
Chairman TOM DAVIS. You would never get the mail out you
had stop.
Mr. DAY. The protocol does not call for shutdown. does call
for isolation the suspicious item and then the notification
local officials, which was done this case.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. OK. How much did the cleanup the
Curseen-Morris facility cost?
Mr. DAY. Mr. Chairman, don have final number date,
and this also involves the testing, the cleanup, and the refurbishment. would put the estimates the $120 $130 million price
range.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Now, how much did Congress appropriate
extra for that, you know?
Mr. DAY. was part total appropriation. received the
$762 million three pieces. There was additional $175 million
that the President provided the Postal Service immediate
response the anthrax attack, which was quite quickly spent
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testing, masks, gloves, all that. the $175 millioin went rather
quickly the initial response the fall 2001.
The additional appropriation came two parts, initial $500
million, followed supplemental for $87 million appropriation. The cleanup costs were embedded that total $587 million. were required Congress develop emergency preparedness plan and gave our cost estimates what the $587
million would spent on. Those cost estimates have changed dramatically since the plan was first submitted March 2002. updated recently and update again.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. mean, one the concerns this committee the Postal Service basically has its own enterprise fund,
and like keep that way. Obviously, for incidents like this, shouldn the ratepayers. terrorism threat and ought come from the general fund, and would interested looking this and seeing are putting this cost back ratepayers this general government. And have these arguments all
the time.
Mr. DAY. Mr. Chairman, concur. believe this unique
circumstance that should not borne the ratepayer; that is,
response terrorist action much more national issue than specific Postal Service ratepayer issue. And fact have
appropriations request for the fiscal year 2005 budget help complete the full deployment the technology provide protection employees and customers.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you.
Let ask question GAO. your opinion, what the most
important thing the Postal Service needs respond effectively emergency like this?
Mr. UNGAR. Well, first all, take the appropriate action
close the facility evacuate the facility that what appropriate under the circumstances, notify appropriate authorities,
and the same time communicate with employees, making sure
that provides clear and accurate information, the best that
can.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. you think communication has improved between the employees and the Postal Service result this?
Mr. UNGAR. Mr. Chairman, yes, seems have improved based what have seen. think number lessons were learned
back 2001. think this most recent example mentioned
summary statement would indicate there the opportunity for continuous improvement and being particularly careful communications with the employees who are slated return Brentwood
recognize the sensitivities what happened 2001.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Let ask our OSHA rep, there any
health risk associated with long-term exposure any residue
agents used the decontamination piece this?
Mr. LAYNE. Mr. Chairman, you talking about the chlorine dioxide exposure? There nothing there that recognized that
should concern the employees.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. OK.
Mr. Gordon, has the District Columbia been reimbursed for
the costs that you incurred during the cleanup the facility?
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Mr. GORDON. Not knowledge, Chairman Davis. Certainly, not just the Department Health, the police department
and other agencies that participated this process. were providing that information Doctor Ghandi that can provide
adequate listing the Postal Service.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. you could get that Ms. Norton and the committee, would very grateful for that.
Mr. GORDON. Very good.
[The information referred follows:]
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Chairman TOM DAVIS. There shouldn cost, think Ms.
Norton agrees with me, cost the city case like this.
Has your Department response biohazards changed since the
anthrax?
Mr. GORDON. Oh, certainly. mean, since the whole anthrax
event. you know, not only been involved the decontamination, but provided the antibiotic therapy for approximately 17,000 people, the majority which were from the postal
facility. Our response dealing with these kinds circumstances
has changed dramatically and certainly this has been best management practice for move forward. Tom Day indicated, have kind written the book this.
Let say this: the collaboration which existed between these
Federal agencies think unique history. came together, clearly defined the problem, and focused resolving that
problem what would characterize superlative manner.
not saying this rubber stamp, but saying the scientists and
the engineers came together and focused and worked hard and apply the science this country, and think that
what achieved.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Has there ever history been issue
before where anthrax was sent through the mail?
Mr. GORDON. Not knowledge, no.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Anyone? you really live and learn, basically.
OK. Let ask the Postal Service, can the equipment that
you planning install now detect hazards other than anthrax?
Would detect ricin, for example?
Mr. DAY. Mr. Chairman, can detect other biological hazards.
The system that worked develop with our suppliers capable multiple threat detection. obviously was developed initially
for anthrax, but capable, and are working toward multiple
threat detection. Ricin not biohazard. actually toxin.
actually protein. there residual DNA content from the castor
bean from which produced from, you can sample for that DNA
content. However, purified form ricin, which truly where the
threat comes from, not detectable this kind PCR-based
DNA analysis.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Now, going hear testimony later
from the American Postal Workers Union that the biohazard detection equipment you planning install not going used presorted mail. guess because pre- sorted mail has identifiable sender, terrorists would generally deterred from using it. that the rationale, terms costs and cost benefits?
Mr. DAY. Mr. Chairman, part our emergency preparedness
plan there vulnerability threat and consequence management
assessment perform. That classified document, have
not put the public domain. went through and assessed 162
scenarios, and when you back and look biological threats such anthrax, presorted mail, mail produced bulk quantity, while
not impossible contaminate, highly improbable and impracticable vector for attack. would virtually impossible
targeted attack, and the method which you would would
likely contaminate the facility where the mail was produced and af-
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fect those employees. And you also have the issue that you already
pointed out known shipper. there are number reasons
why, although possible, that not very practicable way it.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thanks. also understand that the employees have asked for medical and
mental health professionals onsite when employees return.
Does the Postal Service have position that request?
Mr. LANE. Yes. Yes, Chairman. fact, have plans have
24-hour doctors and nurses available them.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Onsite, just available?
Mr. LANE. Onsite.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. OK. What kind training employees
receive for responding emergency like bioterrorist attack?
Obviously, when you look this incident you have refocus your
orientation and your training. Are they getting additional training,
now?
Mr. DAY. Nationwide, yes. have defined protocols. have
always had hazardous material response teams, typically from
within our maintenance crafts employees that have been available deal with this, particularly our processing centers, but
there been increased focus what look for suspicious
mail items. And again would point out, with over 20,000 reported
incidents over the last years, obviously have employees who
have been trained and pay attention. Again, the most recent
incident that was reported the media yesterday was the direct
result employee who was paying attention and did the right
thing.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Thank you. Those are questions.
Ms. Norton.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Chairman Davis. really need more information about how you would handle
contaminated item that wasn labeled. congratulate you
dealing, apparently expeditiously, with ricin. certainly helps restore our confidence. But, course, says ricin right the
label; not hard detect the Postal Service, when obviously someone was trying let you know that was something
dangerous, and you had see was dangerous all, and you
found out was dangerous.
Suppose the ricin had not been labeled. How would ever have
been detected?
Mr. DAY. Let first point out that, again, with the number
incidents have had, the overwhelming majority are not because labeled anthrax, ricin, anything else.
Ms. NORTON. Have you found ricin before?
Mr. DAY. No, have not.
The fact that our employees have been trained some the
specific things look for what might suspicious.
Ms. NORTON. Have they been trained look for ricin?
Mr. DAY. They trained look for suspicious things coming out the envelope mail piece and what the characteristics might be.
Ms. NORTON. Did this come out the envelope?
Mr. DAY. Excuse me?
Ms. NORTON. Did the ricin come out the envelope?
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Mr. DAY. No. would tell you that wasn labeled, other than
the fact that didn have postage which obviously would
have brought our attention and the way potentially was
addressed, there was nothing about the way was made
anything spilling out that would brought our attention.
Ms. NORTON. had continued envelope, first the Postal Service and the CDC thought that anthrax couldn come
through the envelope, and course the facility wasn shut down.
Can ricin come through the envelope? And, does, what happens?
Mr. DAY. Ricin one the
Ms. NORTON. Maybe should ask Mr. Gordon well chime here.
Mr. DAY. can just tell you from our threat assessment ricin
possible, but viewed one the impractical means sent
through the mail. But possible.
Ms. NORTON. Well, was sent through the mail this time, Mr.
Day, not talking Brentwood hypothetical here.
Mr. GORDON. Congresswoman Norton, possible, but very
improbable that you would have the same type dispersion and
distribution that you would have with anthrax spores.
Ms. NORTON. Suppose some came through envelope? Could
harm individual? mean, can you inhale it? just trying
find out what the threat there when you don know what the
substance is.
Mr. GORDON. think through envelope the risk much more
minimal.
Ms. NORTON. Than with anthrax?
Mr. GORDON. Absolutely.
Ms. NORTON. How does poison people? What are its symptoms?
What does you?
Mr. GORDON. protein process. can affect the central nervous system, can affect the lungs, can cause cardiopulmonary
distress someone who may have some clinical problems.
Ms. NORTON. normally would you breathe would have get your body?
Mr. GORDON. You could breathe and/or skin absorption. There
are three pathways: inhalation, skin absorption, and ingestion.
Those are the three pathways from which could cause problems.
Ms. NORTON. But you think pretty much would have get out the envelope?
Mr. GORDON. Yes and you have have what characterize substantial bioload and exposure, like did with anthrax,
and don think you have ricin the type substance that has
the same dispersion capability anthrax.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Gordon, who has anthrax? Who has access
ricin this country?
Mr. GORDON. Who?
Ms. NORTON. mean, laboratories have it? prohibited
substance hard get ahold of? easy get ahold of?
Mr. DAY. Congresswoman Norton, from what understand, ricin produced from the castor bean. The technology required refine
the ricin from the castor bean not overly sophisticated. However,
getting into weaponized form bit more challenge,
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with level knowledge, not overly sophisticated, could produce
from castor bean.
Ms. NORTON. suppose now that had this tragic episode involving anthrax there are all kinds precautions that have been
taken here. But, very frankly, the President and Congress and Federal officials now are perhaps much concerned about substances
that haven yet come into the mails. are concerned about bioterrorism. got ask you about other toxins and chemicals and
things like you know, got the bejesus scared out about
smallpox until found that perhaps caused more harm than
not try vaccinate everybody. But would like ask you about
other substances that may come through the mail and whether
the quite apart from anthrax, whether you prepared for other
substances that may come the mail, just ricin has come
through the mail just this week. what the world how are
you prepared?
Mr. GORDON. like just give some clarity your earlier
question and give you some additional information.
Ricin chemical. not bacteria. Anthrax bacteria
which microscopic and went through the envelope itself because its porousness. Ricin chemical compound that derived
through various methods, very rudimentary, Tom Day has indicated. You would have have substantial amount this chemical for someone either inhale ingest order become
major risk factor.
Ms. NORTON. more than anthrax.
Mr. GORDON. Substantially more than anthrax. There are
bioloads, Congresswoman Norton, for anthrax. other words, one the difficulties and challenges that had and why set
nondetect level for Brentwood is, there exposure dose ratio set the United States for anthrax. person who may exposed spores can contract the disease versus 100 spores. So,
therefore, the standard nondetect what important.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Day, you aware that woman who employee who worked within feet one the employees who died
found suspicious letter that had powder it, came supervisors
and spoke about it. turned out false positive, but she was
turned back. want know, somebody came with such letter today
mean, she very fortunate wasn that, because she knew somebody was ill; and there are all kinds concerns that were raised
that there were some supervisors who reprimanded employees
when the numbers went down immediately following the incident,
but nothing has been found. People were reassured back
work, get your work done. want know what happens when somebody comes with maybe false positive and says, this envelope looks like could
contain something. And know that the chances are, you know,
99.9 percent perhaps that won but want know what she
has hand something, what the Postal Service says that employee. You and Mr. Lane tell me, whoever the best position tell what your regulations now tell should happen.
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Mr. DAY. have defined process and procedure how
handle such event.
First all, would point out the first part, that have told
employees and hopefully they will follow, that they wouldn
have their hand.
Ms. NORTON. what would they do?
Mr. DAY. they have mail piece that suspicious has powdery substances coming out it, they are identify where
and notify supervisor manager.
Ms. NORTON. Now this training that has now been given
Brentwood and postal employees throughout the United States
what you just telling me?
Mr. DAY. That training has been provided over the course well
over year. The process has been defined, employees have been
trained.
Ms. NORTON. don touch what they told.
Mr. DAY. not touch. Notify, isolate and notify local authorities. The Postal Inspection Service becomes involved well
local officials.
Again, have had over 20,000 incidents Postal Service-wide
the course the last years. experienced some level facility shutdown dealt with suspicious items.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much.
Now concerned about information that beginning
emerge about the slow close-down, the delayed close-down; and,
course, the Postal Service has said, well, you know, the CDC made it. Would you rely the CDC today? You know, went the scientists, and they said wasn necessary, what
were told over and over again. Would you rely the CDC today would you close down facility even without CDC other scientific affirmation?
Mr. DAY. Congresswoman, must rely upon public health and
medical experts. The example the Greenville, SC, situation
along with other senior managers the Postal Service, were involved telephone conversations with Homeland Security, the
CDC and the FBI. jointly made that decision. must
Ms. NORTON. Did they look the substance first?
Mr. DAY. Excuse me?
Ms. NORTON. Did they test the substance first?
Mr. DAY. They came and let know that they had trace
amounts ricin. then had discussion about they indicated us, they found the trace amounts, but the vial was sealed. had discussion about what was prudent do.
Ms. NORTON. So, you know, once again they said, look, you
know, sealed. haven had time test it. But
Mr. DAY. jointly reached the conclusion that needed
close the facility, get public health people there talking employees and test the facility.
Ms. NORTON. How soon after the discovery was the facility
closed?
Mr. DAY. The discovery, found last week. CDC came back with the positive results the last hours. That when reacted, when had result.
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Ms. NORTON. you found last week. You didn know
course, they said was ricin. Last week what day?
Mr. DAY. was last Wednesday, the 15th, believe.
Ms. NORTON. And was closed down when?
Mr. DAY. closed down yesterday. week. But right the
same day that were notified that had some result that indicated there was problem, that point had been removed
from the facility, and nothing had been indicated. was just like
many other incidents had.
Ms. NORTON. you waited until was tested? that why you
waited that long?
Mr. DAY. You have to. You have get result understand
what you got.
Ms. NORTON. Well, that exactly what the CDC said.
Look, you know, concerned. That concerns me. The thing said
ricin. could understand you had unidentified envelope. The
thing said ricin. could have been prank, but what this almost week that you waited close down the facility? mean,
that some concern. don know there overdependence
scientific experts there was CDC there was dependence CDC what. But let you seem have and think
going ask you look far more closely what you do, particularly you have labeled matter. Now don want indicate
that every labeled matter but, apparently, even your conversations they told you there was residue. There appeared residue
there, and you didn close it. Oh, that didn happen until week
later.
Mr. DAY. found out yesterday what they had sampled.
had nothing prior that.
Ms. NORTON. Except the label.
Mr. DAY. Just and, unfortunately, Congresswoman, get
things sent through the mail that have any number anonymous
hoaxes written them. That, unfortunately, too commonplace.
Ms. NORTON. OK. Mr. Day, going assume from what
heard from Dr. Gordon that what generally known about ricin
would mean that knowing only that this was labeled ricin, knowing
what least informs about the nature ricin and its ability contaminate far less than anthrax, that may have been reasonable decision not shut down for that period time. really
not trying all show you didn the right thing. trying reassured and reassure members the public and the employees that are today using the best have.
Now have question about your own policies and regulations.
Four days after the anthrax letter was opened Capitol Hill and
the date looking October 19, 2001 the Postal Service apparently issued policy, written policy. informed, stated that the discovery suspicious unopened envelope should
trigger the shutdown equipment and evacuation, cordoning off
the area. That what your own regulation said. Now you were
aware that the Daschle letter had passed through that facility
October 15th, responding the 19th you had new regulations.
That very good. That quick response writing. However, the
facility itself was not shut down. fact, was kept running
hours day, days week, and there were 2,000 employees
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that building, approximately. me, this says you weren following your own regulations, despite the fact that letter had been
found here and everybody knew that letter went through Brentwood. want know, light that, light your own written
response, why there was delay shutting down that facility,
given what you knew about that letter, that Daschle letter Capitol Hill.
Mr. DAY. Yes, am. Let just clarify. What put out
October and don specifically remember that date what
was issued that day, but can tell you there were existing policies the Postal Service, something which specifically remember. Because year and half prior, district manager southeast
New England, had gone through simulation anthrax
event.
Ms. NORTON. you had existing policies plus new policy. The
one interested the one that says, shut down the place;
cordon off the area.
Mr. DAY. But let clear what the policy was and what knew how this worked. October 19, the examination policy and the clarification spoke shutting down the facility where
the letter was found. The concept trail contamination was
not known the 19th. The letter question, the Daschle letter,
was the Hart building, which was shut down; that full conformance. didn have the concept history now tells much
differently, and our policies have changed reflect that, but what didn know the 19th was that there was trail contamination that went back upstream.
Ms. NORTON. Well, wait minute. You did close you did know
enough, apparently, close the Trenton postal facility
Mr. DAY. The Trenton postal facility.
Ms. NORTON [continuing]. And you certainly knew enough
close the Capitol Hill mail facility. One upstream. Capitol Hill downstream. Yet, Brentwood, which midstream, remained
open the 19th, the 20th, and part the 21st. Why shouldn
conclude that Brentwood was treated differently from these other
facilities, and why was treated differently, you were quick close down upstream and downstream and here Brentwood
the middle and not closed down?
Mr. DAY. Take either end. Trenton, October 18, you
have the first incident postal employee, letter carrier, who
was diagnosed suffering from cutaneous anthrax. dealing
with local public health officials the State New Jersey, specifically Dr. Bresnet, decision was made. Given the specific
known issue employee the Postal Service with cutaneous
anthrax, that facility was closed.
Ms. NORTON. How many hints you need?
Mr. DAY. Unfortunately, did not
Ms. NORTON. This person had anthrax. upstream.
Mr. DAY. No. No. That not upstream. That the source.
That where occurred. And turn, again, working with local
public health officials, had not yet come that conclusion. That
was not the advice think Mr. Ungar
Ms. NORTON. Had not yet come the conclusion that could
travel.
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Mr. DAY. That had this path contamination.
Ms. NORTON. That what? sorry.
Mr. DAY. There path contamination.
Ms. NORTON. First all, what did learn about that employee that time? The postal carrier?
Mr. DAY. New Jersey?
Ms. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. DAY. That specific carrier was suffering from case cutaneous anthrax.
Ms. NORTON. OK. had it.
Mr. DAY. She had it, yes, that facility; and there was advice
from local public health officials close Trenton, NJ. were responsive what public health officials advised do. New
Jersey, the 18th, given that case, closed. When Mr. Morris,
Mr. Curseen, Mr. Richmond were diagnosed over the course the
weekend the 20th and 21st then, turn, public health officials
said needed close. did that. did not know that the
19th.
Ms. NORTON. All right. Again, once you get don know what tell you, Mr. Day, but there are deaths around me, then
begin look very closely what had been the existing knowledge.
And recognize that was that postal carrier who had letter,
right? believe had the letter. Now believe that somebody now know least two people Brentwood had letter.
Again, don find hard connect these dots.
Mr. DAY. Not the 19th, though, Congresswoman. The only
death October was Mr. Stevens Boca Raton, FL, AMI.
Then you had series cutaneous anthrax cases that took place New York City the newsrooms several network stations well the New York Post. when you look the dates,
the 19th, you not have, other than the first employee Trenton, NJ, case anthrax. The first cases diagnosed here the
Washington area occurred over the course the weekend, the 20th
and 21st.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Day, what looking that people who
handled mail clearly got anthrax, ergo, somebody Brentwood has
handled mail, and yet Brentwood not closed. Moreover, the Capitol Hill facility, downstream, was closed. Why? They handled mail.
But did somebody Brentwood, and perhaps more people than know.
Mr. DAY. But that the end the stream where you got
the mailroom and Senator Daschle administrative aide. You
the end the trail, and that why that closed. Congresswoman, agree with you totally. hindsight, again, would have done
this. wasn known the time. that what CDC anyone
else had advised was the right thing do, would have done
it. did New Jersey. When public health said close,
closed.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. And you won again.
Mr. DAY. Absolutely. think all understand how anthrax and
biohazards can come out. Our process and protocol calls now for
when detection occurs will shut down the facility and work with
local public health.
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Ms. NORTON. Just let say why still dissatisfied. When
because there had been anthrax deaths occur that occurred
people who had handled mail, anthrax, not deaths. Because
people had gotten anthrax from handling mail, because mail had
clearly been handled the Daschle office and, therefore, the
Brentwood office seems that, regardless where the scientific folks are, give them time figure out, but you have
enough real live evidence, quite apart from any analysis, that there
may danger particular facility where people have handled
anthrax. That what want assured of, that if, fact, people
can connect those dots, you will not what you did with the CDC. waited for them, our hands are clean, and did what the scientists told us. looking for some fail check, and tell you the best fail check can think of: Somebody got sick facility that handled this. don want know anything else except will somebody get sick
here who handling the very same substance?
Now would ask that the Postal Service consider what saying. not talking about not depending the scientific evidence. understand that can take time. saying, depending real evidence that, analogy, could likely apply this facility, even
though isn this facility. hope clear, and like
know the Postal Service willing consider this chain this
chain problem talking about where you have figure out
even though you don have the substance tested.
Mr. DAY. Congresswoman, would tell you let speak realworld example where learned our lesson. established new
protocols, and implemented them.
This past year the Federal Reserve here Washington they
reported back January that they had preliminary positive piece mail the Fed for anthrax contamination. We, fact, specifically reacted it. knew the trail mail that
would have followed. went the Street facility where
process government mail. That facility was closed. personally was
involved with the notification the public. Jerry Lane personally
notified the employees. shut down the facility, got tested, made sure took care it.
Ms. NORTON. What about Brentwood, that instance?
Mr. DAY. Excuse me?
Ms. NORTON. What about Brentwood? Did through Brentwood?
Mr. DAY. No, did not. followed the trail. was processed the Street annex. that not theory, that real-world
case
Ms. NORTON. Well, just gave you real-world case, and you
have not satisfied with respect that real-world case. congratulate you the real world and, you say, have learned
our lesson. want know whether not are also dealing
with analytic process whereby you have what the physicians do. Physicians often diagnose without having the scientific
evidence. They have put together, and that essentially the
kind process asking you also use.
Mr. Ungar.
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Mr. UNGAR. Ms. Norton, just wanted mention that our testimony today was based our work Brentwood, which was part larger review were doing the Postal Service and other
authorities reactions the incidents 2001 several major postal facilities. And part that review, what would like take look the revised postal guidance for dealing with these
situations see whether would indeed cover the type situation that occurred back then. hope report that within the next few months.
Ms. NORTON. very much appreciate that, because, you know, hearing little bit fighting the last war here. got
think proactively what and have look specifically for very different situation than found.
Mr. Chairman, apologize for taking this time, but wonder could have the time pursue this matter further.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. course. Without objection.
Ms. NORTON. now concerned now want now
want ask you about other substances. Because CDC has long-existing regulations going back 1980, understand it, and included anthrax. There must for example, anthrax, you
sending lawfully, must three-layered packaging and the
rest. all quite correct, scientifically correct. know that researchers know this renowned scientist who
was just arrested and being investigated because just carried
stuff with him, know that, you know, that researchers may
just becoming aware what you supposed do; and many
have obviously not been following these regulations one form
fashion. But concerned, Dr. Gordon, that these regulations
these CDC regulations said that, even taped and sealed and the
Daschle letter was quite visibly taped and sealed there still would
probably leak anthrax. Yet were told nobody knew that,
even though these regulations from the CDC said you better, you
know, seal all this stuff because, even you do, there could leak. Why didn mean, they claimed not know the Postal
Service claims not have known, and here their own regulations they warn that layered envelope all buttoned could leak.
How did this occur?
Mr. GORDON. Well, certainly can only give you theoretically,
anthrax, you may may not know, ubiquitous organism
that commonly around us. the soil; out there. The difference between the anthrax that went through the mail service
processing area that this stuff was man-prepared. was highly refined type anthrax that literally defied gravity terms
its dispersion capability.
Ms. NORTON. that what they had mind when they said would probably leak even was taped and sealed.
Mr. GORDON. That correct. And being highly refined
was, certainly, the don think anyone anticipated that the
porousness the envelopes were such that could come through
the envelope. our understanding
Ms. NORTON. Then why did the regulations say that, even
taped and sealed, would probably leak anthrax?
Mr. GORDON. Well, that something, Congresswoman, you
going have ask CDC. doesn make much sense, other than
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that the porousness the envelope would leak it, being highly refined would leak even that much more. And that exactly what
happened. came through the envelope, and when hit the dusting machines with the air, aerosolized it, and distributed
throughout the Brentwood facility. Your question excellent. Why wasn thought before, don know. one the issues that raised with the Department Health Dr. Walks and raised that would common for understand that bacteria
that highly refined would come right through that.
Ms. NORTON. Well, they understood enough put their
regulations, but they didn understand enough tell the Postal
Service.
Let further and move on. need know how you know, you do, Mr. Day, that there risk employees from the new
irradiation facility that will located, understand it, the
Brentwood grounds.
Mr. DAY. Let say few words about irradiation. would preface saying that when you get into very specific scientific discussion not aware really anybody that would describe anything risk, 100 percent certainty, zero risk.
Ms. NORTON. You right. There always risk. There risk
breathing just air. not talking trying reasonable,
Mr. Day.
Mr. DAY. There is, however, because
Ms. NORTON. mean, even the GAO leaves with the fact
that everybody protects their butt, and they say 100 percent
then they are afraid somebody will come back and say they found
1/10th percent.
Mr. DAY. And that the issue. one claims risk. Low
risk, however, think reasonable. Irradiation technology has
been around for decades. been used for food processing, medical
sterilization, got number industrial uses; and well
known, well understood. The ability properly build facility that low risk anyone possibly can build one well understood.
The facility currently use New Jersey, owned and operated IBA, Ion Beam Applications actually, firm out Belgium. The facility one that driven many times. been
into it. immediately adjacent Route 295 New Jersey.
There are literally thousands upon thousands vehicles that drive that facility within 100, 150 feet. Irradiation understood. The
procedures make safe are understood, and well regulated.
Ms. NORTON. not unlike the facility New Jersey where
now send mail to?
Mr. DAY. would custom-designed for the particular aspect irradiating mail. The facility New Jersey had more industrial use although put mail through it. This facility will built
just for mail. But, most importantly, what you have with irradiation very thick concrete steel walls some combination that
prevent any that irradiation from being harmful anyone outside the facility.
Ms. NORTON. And this located remote corner the facility the area.
Mr. DAY. located the most remote corner. For those familiar with the site, you looking the front our building where
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the retail is, would off the left, the left the auto auction facility that across the street from us, bounded somewhat
New York Avenue and with all the train tracks behind it. the most remote portion our property away the farthest
away from any residence. quite distance away from any
residential properties.
Ms. NORTON. Will OSHA testing this facility
Mr. LAYNE. Yes, am.
Ms. NORTON [continuing]. This irradiation facility?
Mr. LAYNE. Yes. are prepared continue with our work
with USPS address any concerns that employees have about unsafe unhealthful working conditions, and all those will
evaluated. currently still working with the USPS and evaluating all the samples that they getting, and will continue work with them address any potential unsafe unhealthful
working conditions.
Ms. NORTON. Today, Mr. Lane, Mr. Day don know who can
answer this question who would have the final say closing
down Brentwood this city?
Mr. DAY. were
Ms. NORTON. How the chain command work? Who makes
that call?
Mr. DAY. Ultimately, remains with the agencies the Postal
Service. certainly seek the advice other agencies such
CDC. work with Homeland Security the case South Carolina where there some aspect that might suggest terrorism. can tell you, deploy our new technology there predetermined protocol that the new system are putting place,
that get confirmed result from that it, fact, has found
the DNA structure anthrax, not really decision. The protocol just flat out says close down. remove the sample;
take certified CDC lab for final confirmation. have facility that closed, facility that has the machinery shut down, the employees taken out; and then get confirmed result working with public health follow medical
protocol. very defined, takes decisionmaking upfront.
all decided the protocols.
Ms. NORTON. You wanted say something that, Mr. Gordon.
Mr. GORDON. Yes. From the District Columbia standpoint, felt that postal facility any other facility located our
community represented immediate public health threat,
would request that the Mayor declare public health emergency;
and would then move forward request the facility closure.
Ms. NORTON. One the great concerns here has been information, and know how much work you have done the communication issue. But have question for Mr. Layne that regard because OSHA regulations. Because OSHA regulations don require dealing here with nationwide potentially nationwide problem, and the OSHA regulations don require the disclosure workers contamination the test results contamination, don understand how that appropriate. read your
regulations, they allow management days communicate potentially deadly contamination workers.
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Mr. LAYNE. That the existing requirement under CFR
1910.1020, which our access Medical Records Standard; and
that the regulation exists now. Certainly, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employees believe that there
some condition that information that should made available them, they can contact the local office, but the responsibility for
providing safe and healthful workplace lies with the employer
under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Ms. NORTON. Yeah, but they going look that regulation.
Mr. Ungar.
Mr. UNGAR. Yes, Ms. Norton. identified this dilemma the
review that recently completed the Wallingford Connecticut
facility, and did make very explicit recommendation OSHA take look that regulation because the very issue that you
just raised, that employee has ask for the information first. response, OSHA did agree relook that regulation.
haven heard from OSHA yet whether they are going change it,
but they did agree revisit that regulation.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Layne, are you the process revising these
regulations now based the experience?
Mr. LAYNE. Yes, am. are evaluating the regulation based
upon the recommendation from the GAO, and responded back July 2003 that exactly what are doing.
Ms. NORTON. Well, when can expect revised regulations, Mr.
Layne?
Mr. LAYNE. don have that answer for you. happy answer you, provide response later. don have the answer that.
Ms. NORTON. Would you provide response the chairman
within week that know when your goal is? didn ask you
when you have when your goal come forward with regulation. That something asking you give the committee.
Mr. LAYNE. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, there very detailed process about rulemaking that has through very public
Ms. NORTON. Are you the process rulemaking now?
Mr. LAYNE. responding the GAO report. looking see what the best way make the regulations.
Chairman TOM DAVIS. Mr. Layne, she just wants approximation. You can back and review week and give ball
park.
Mr. LAYNE. don have answer for you right now.
Ms. NORTON. can understand you might not have sitting
right here. You see, the way which the government works,
perfectly reasonable for employer, including the Federal Government, look your regulations, decide whether not the employer doing the right thing. After all, the employer not sure. doesn want panic employees. And yet knows that his
union his employees are going say, Why didn you tell me? avoid recrimination, you may want look giving more discretion the employer. You may want look shorter timeframe. But all need know when you expect the process
have something. And sure that your agency sets goals for when
they want something, recognizing that those goals cannot always kept.
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Mr. LAYNE. Yes, am, will.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much.
Now Mr. Gordon, D.C. General closed. was, course, indispensable the time because was set almost immediately receive people who got Cipro and handle people least initially, their health concerns. What would happen today had episode? Where would people go?
Mr. GORDON. would still prepared, necessary,
operationalize D.C. General Hospital. While the hospital hasn
been operated, you know, have our health care safety net
unit there. The rest the facility integrity has been maintained. not situation that crumbling down around our knees.
would operationalize D.C. General Hospital. would also
have other alternative sites part our emergency response plan
that could provide you.
Ms. NORTON. What are those sites, please?
Mr. GORDON. would prefer provide that you under separate cover because the very nature bioterrorism and where
would operationalize
Ms. NORTON. Well, they already know about D.C. General.
what are you keeping from all?
Mr. GORDON. Well, certainly would have access the Armory
there. The Office Emergency Management, the Department
Health prepared set emergency medical tech operations
property adjacent D.C. General Hospital and other locations
throughout the city part our emergency response plan.
feel that very capable now respond these types
events. Our experience has been enormous, you know,
operationalizing D.C. General Hospital; and treating 17,000 people not easy task. was there.
But can also tell you that there are lot other parts, such mental health counseling, that went from our mental health
department. The Postal Service participation working with
Postal Service employees and helping them get through their tremendous effort was absolutely superb. couldn have done
without Postal coordination and assistance and other offices the
Federal Government. And based those lessons and how operated, certainly feel comfortable had operationalize and
treat could that rapid deployment.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, only have one more question. want say this. that time, D.C. General was open.
wasn opened full-fledged hospital. That was open.
talking what you saw even though the whole facility mothballs now you could get right back up. Because you know what? going hold you accountable for that.
Mr. GORDON. Well, have that one the reasons why
not been torn down crumbling around our knees. have the
facility; have chairs and tables and stuff that are still there.
hasn been ravaged. maintained appropriate maintenance the building.
Ms. NORTON. OK. And got electricity and all that stuff.
Mr. GORDON. There electricity the building.
Ms. NORTON. All that good stuff.
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Mr. GORDON. You must understand, Congresswoman, this facility contiguous number buildings and the power sources supply also not only D.C. General but the D.C. Jail and other facilities
that are located that campus. cannot individually isolate
and deprogram. Again, while been mothballed and are not
investing lot money other than maintaining limited capital basis, had operationalize deal with emergency
situation certainly would it.
Ms. NORTON. final question is, who monitoring the health the employees who were Curseen-Morris the time and what
are the results whatever studies monitoring that being
done?
Mr. GORDON. understanding and Tom Day can add
more this but through Dr. Michael Richardson, our chief medical officer, Dr. Richardson involved the monitoring those
employees along with CDC. understanding that CDC has
primacy; and they coordinate with Dr. Richardson, who our chief
medical officer, with relationship followup complaints those
employees. And their coordination also with Dr. Reid, who the
chief medical officer for Postal Service.
Mr. DAY. would concur with that. That what happening.
would tell you, more personal level, having spoken number employee town hall meetings here Washington well New Jersey with the employees both facilities, our employees want that, and they deserve it. However, there level mistrust that has kicked into this. CDC has had use contractor help them the monitoring, and large extent they use
telephone surveys. personally spoken with employees who say, Why aren they
doing better job monitor health? And asked them
said, Well, were you contacted the telephone survey? The answer yes. Well, What did you tell them? Well, didn want talk them. having problem get employees who deserve and want
this tracking and treatment necessary, but most importantly
tracking understand the methodology that CDC needs employ it. there level mistrust unfortunately that crept there. And trying get our employees understand, yes,
CDC doing this, they are monitoring. They have done number reports, but, you get contacted this contractor that CDC using, please communicate with them and let them know what
happening you have any
Ms. NORTON. Have you seen any improvement the responses
from employees based
Mr. DAY. don have any quantitative data tell you whether gotten better worse. Anecdotally, still hear from employees
who raise the question but then admit you they
Ms. NORTON. because CDC they hear the name CDC?
that why?
Mr. DAY. think there expectation that M.D. literally
going come your doorstep and give you physical exam and
that what the monitoring is, opposed CDC trying monitor population people and talk them periodically through this
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