Ashland Inc., Covington, Ky. and Sabre Oxidation Technologies Inc., Odessa, Texas each were awarded U.S. Postal Service contracts May 8 for anthrax decontamination of the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, D.C. and the Trenton processing and distribution center in Hamilton Township, N.J. The two facilities were contaminated in September and October during processing of anthrax-laced letters sent to Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and news organizations.

Ashland and its Drew Industrial division received a $1.16-million award. Sabre's contract is for $1.25 million. The Postal Service says the contracts "initially cover the Brentwood facility and provide the framework for the cleanup that will be done in Trenton." Officials will "finalize the contractors' engagement for Trenton once the Brentwood cleanup has been completed and deemed a success." No other details were available.

The two firms, along with Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., Baton Rouge, La., will provide decontamination services including design, program development and application of clorine dioxide gas to eradicate anthrax contamination. Ashland's unit will supply chemicals and personnel to generate the chlorine dioxide gas. Sabre and Shaw will provide equipment and personnel to apply the gas. Shaw already is under contract with the Postal Service. Ashland and Shaw were involved in the December cleanup of the Hart Senate Office Building where clorine dioxide gas and other methods were used to decontaminate Daschle's offices.

The Postal Service says that decontamination of Brentwood will begin in the next few months.