Bioterrorism tests begin in Oklahoma City

Monday, June 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Scientists released an unharmful gas in downtown Oklahoma City to see how gas moves through the city.

The tests began Sunday and will run through July.

Scientists from the US Defense Department and the Energy and Homeland Security Department are monitoring how the gas could be detected if the city was ever attacked.

Sulfur hexaflouride, a nontoxic, colorless and odorless gas is being released into the air. The gas is often used to inflate tennis balls or air pockets in tennis shoes.

200 wind sensors and 200 tracer samplers are set up in the downtown area to measure how the gas moves.

The tests will continue with 4 half-hour gas releases per day if winds are blowing from the south.

Oklahoma City was chosen for the tests because its downtown area is compact and well-defined. It's also closer for West Coast scientists.