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Flaws Discovered in New Fort Detrick Lab

Updated: Friday, 16 Apr 2010, 4:03 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 16 Apr 2010, 4:03 PM EDT
FREDERICK, Md. - Officials with a new Homeland Security lab at Maryland's Fort Detrick say they've discovered building flaws that mean it could be 18 months before the facility is fully operational.
Pat Fitch, lab director for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, said the most serious problem involves the placement of air duct valves in some labs. Workers need to access the ducts to change filters used to clean air as it flows out of the lab space. Fitch says the worker entry point may be too far from the filter, making it difficult to safely change the device.
He is also concerned that contaminated water could bubble back out of some of the building's drains in certain circumstances. And he wants to put air pressure monitors in some ceiling spaces to ensure contaminated air doesn't leak out of the labs.

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