Skip to main content /POLITICS

Fumigation of Senate building extends into Sunday

Letters addressed to two U.S. senators contained dangerous amounts of anthrax.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The latest fumigation of portions of the Hart Senate Office Building could run into Sunday, the Environment Protection Agency said Saturday.

The fumigation was expected to be completed in 24 hours, but has been extended to "allow for higher saturation levels of the chlorine dioxide gas," the EPA said in a statement.

"The concentration levels of gas have not been consistent since the process began late Friday evening," the statement read. "These are normal engineering challenges which often occur during this type of operation."

The building closed two months ago because of anthrax contamination.

Fumigation began around 5:30 p.m. EST on Friday, nearly eight hours after its originally scheduled start. Officials initially halted the process because the humidity level in the building was not high enough to carry the gas.

Anthrax attacks
 Complete coverage

A mechanical malfunction forced fumigators to abandon an effort nearly two weeks ago to neutralize the anthrax spores in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Under the direction of the EPA, chlorine dioxide gas was pumped through the ventilation system, but a mechanical mishap kept the gas saturation from reaching proper concentration levels necessary to kill the anthrax.

Other areas of the building were fumigated at the beginning of December.

The EPA will take environmental tests of all the offices before the building is reopened, which they still hope will happen by the end of January.




Back to the top