Jean Schumann says she stopped working for the Environmental Protection Agency in the late '80s because of "deplorable working conditions" at Waterside Mall [Close to Home, Oct. 24]. But if working conditions were deplorable, the General Services Administration and EPA would not have occupied the space.

She said, "EPA was in the middle of a `sick building syndrome' scandal." A review of the records shows that none of the five buildings ever was. The buildings were tested and retested by independent services, and no evidence of polluting substances was found. Ventilation exceeded all codes and standards.

The EPA did install new carpet and carpeted partitions, and some employees claimed that the carpet made them ill. EPA removed the carpet. Extensive tests showed no hazardous materials in the carpet.

Ms. Schumann said, "Asbestos was discovered in the ceiling of my office area." According to EPA, her office was located in a building, built in the '80s, that contained no asbestos.

In 1996, Ms. Schumann returned to the EPA, and she complains that the "building was still dirty, rundown, cockroach-infested and ventilation-disabled." Facilities records will show that none of these defamatory allegations can be supported. In fact, GSA extended the lease on the complex to Sept. 15, 2002.



The writer is president of the company that manages Waterside Mall.