HDT Provides CBRN Protection and Innovative Design for Mail Processing Sites
As a result of the anthrax letters (October 2001), heightened security (9/11), and other biological and chemical threats, the U.S. Government initiated mail security practices to protect terminal delivery sites. The challenge was to protect several high-volume mail processing environments, facility personnel, and final mail recipients from the possibility of biological and chemical agent exposure through delivered mail.
HDT Engineering Services (formally New World) used their expertise in mechanical engineering and CBRN technologies to assist the Johns Hopkins University/ Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), the lead systems integrator, in the design, installation, and maintenance of mail security systems that focus on detection capabilities, threat containment, and personnel protection.
Customer requirements included:
- Prevent contaminated mail from reaching intended recipient
- Protect processing workers from exposure to contaminants
- Ensure reliable 24/7 operation of protection systems
- Upgrade existing facilities with minimal interruption to site operations
Engineering methods applied:
- Site surveys
- Design layout and analysis of isolation/processing facilities
- Design of mechanical systems for air filtration and negative pressurization
- Design of specialized equipment for mail sampling and threat detection
- On-site construction supervision and support
- HVAC system balancing
- Air filtration system testing
- Monitoring system design, fabrication, and installation
Approach HDT-Engineering Services began work by meeting with customers to determine the space available for the processing facility and requirements for processing operations. Facilities requiring protection included both new buildings and existing in-use processing facilities. Site surveys were performed to analyze the existing facilities.
Site survey results and customer requirements were used to create conceptual layouts. The conceptual layouts were analyzed for process flow, equipment layout, heating and cooling requirements, and pressurization system requirements. HDT-Engineering Services used 3D solid modeling programs to create facility layouts, mechanical systems, and specialized equipment. Proprietary analysis software was used to conduct pressurization analyses in order to design the systems that created the negative pressure containment zones. Final layouts and mechanical systems were then designed for the facilities.
HDT-Engineering Services engineers worked closely with a construction company to ensure pressure boundary integrity was maintained using proper construction methods. Following construction, HDT-Engineering Services installed and tested filters, balanced the HVAC systems, and tested the facilities to ensure proper pressurization. Furthermore, HDT-Engineering Services designed and installed monitoring systems, as well as provided specialized maintenance and technical support to the mail processing facilities.
- Established current mail security standards in design, installation, and testing.
- Produced design work for both existing and planned facilities of up to 50,000 square feet.
- Rapidly designed systems according to time constraints and requirements, including the completion of an emergency upgrade in four (4) weeks and the completion of a full-facility integration in eight (8) months.
- Completed system integration with minimal interruption to facility operations.
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