I had thought that the only real thing left of the October 2001 anthrax attacks is a still-open case to locate the person or persons responsible. The attacks resulted in five deaths and three times as many cases of non-fatal anthrax poisoning, not to mention the virtual crippling of commerce, as businesses regularly emptied their facilities in response to suspected attacks.
I guess I wasnâ€™t paying attention.
It turns out that the Hamilton, New Jersey Post Office has been closed and sealed since October 2001 when it was determined that at least four anthrax laced letters (addressed to the New York Post, Tom Brokaw, Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy) passed through the facility.
Only now have federal and state authorities approved the final step in the cleanup of the 228,000 square foot building. The two-month process involves pumping chlorine dioxide into the building. It is thought that this procedure (the same one that was used to decontaminate Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and the Brentwood postal facility) will eliminate any remaining anthrax spores.
Because the process is corrosive, the building will have to be refurbished, and virtually everything in the building will have to be replaced. This will add an additional eight months to the project. It is expected that the facility will be safe and functional again in about a year.
Just another reminder of just how vulnerable we are.