Dead-germ spraying at three Red Line stops to begin early Wednesday
The MBTA reports a potential bioterror germ attack alert system starts getting tested after the last train of the night on Wednesday at Davis, Porter and Harvard stations on the Red Line.
The Department of Homeland Security has installed monitors in the stations designed to detect the release of certain types of potentially lethal bacteria. To test the monitors, researchers will spray B. subtilis bacteria into the air at the stations. The bacteria is normally considered harmless - you can buy mass quantities of it as a nutritional supplement - and researchers say they'll render it even less risky by killing it first with gamma rays, the T says:
These tests will begin on August 29, 2012 when the MBTA stations are closed to the public, and will continue periodically over the next year. Signs will be posted in the MBTA stations one day before each scheduled test. While these systems are evaluated, Massachusetts public health officials will work closely with DHS and the MBTA to monitor the results.
“This detection system will be one of the first such systems installed in the country, and, if it proves to be effective, could serve as a model for other mass transportation venues throughout the nation and the world. Closing this vulnerability to our transportation infrastructure will greatly advance our preparedness and strength against possible incidents,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan.