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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA closes mail room, ID office for anthrax testing


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Oct. 24 closed its mail room and ID office as a precautionary measure to test for the possible presence of a biological contaminant.

WMATA receives its mail from the Brentwood mail facility where anthrax contamination was discovered; several WMATA employees have picked up or dropped off mail at the facility in recent weeks.

Both rooms are located in WMATA’s headquarters and share a common partial wall. Seven WMATA employees staff the mail room; five, the ID office. Pending test results, WMATA officials will decide whether to test other facilities.

Prior to the office’s closing, James Lloyd, the lead technician in charge of WMATA’s mail room, obtained protective gloves and dust-repellent masks for mail room employees, who also were encouraged to wash their hands at least hourly. If an employee would suspect a package of containing a contaminant or explosive device, Lloyd is designated as the "first respondent." He, then, decides whether the situation warrants a call to the Metro Transit Police.

WMATA’s mail room typically handles more than 900 pieces of mail daily, and more than 100 packages and boxes for the agency’s nearly 10,000 employees.

Officials expect to reopen the mail room and ID office early next week.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/26/2001