Seven postal processing facilities in Kansas are being reviewed for either closure or consolidation. The U.S. Postal Service released a list today saying it needs to cut more than half of its processing facilities. The change is expected to save the Postal Service up to $3 billion.

The Kansas facilities being considered include Colby, Dodge City, Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal, Salina and Topeka. In all, the Postal Service is studying 250 processing facilities nationwide. 

The study is expected to take three to four months. A spokesman with the Postal Service says they will determine whether all, some or none of the facilities will be impacted.  If changes are made, they would happen in February or March of next year.

He says the Colby processing plant is being considered to consolidate with Denver. Dodge City, Hays, Hutchinson and Salina would consolidate with Wichita. Liberal would consolidate with either Wichita or Amarillo, Texas and Topeka to Kansas City Missouri.

The seven different processing facilities employ 275 people. The spokesman says if any of the locations are closed, they would make every attempt to move employees into other available positions. Those positions would likely be in other towns.

"We are forced to face a new reality today," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "First-Class Mail supports the organization and drives network requirements. With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic. Since 2006, we have closed 186 facilities, removed more than 1,500 pieces of mail processing equipment, decreased employee complement by more than 110,000 through attrition and reduced costs by $12 billion."

According to a press release from the Postal Service,  mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past 5 years and is continuing to decline. First-Class Mail has dropped 25 percent and single piece First-Class Mail - letters bearing postage stamps - has declined 36 percent in the same time frame, and nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. The decline has created substantial excess capacity within the postal processing network.

The mail processing network itself was constructed to process and deliver First-Class Mail within a 1-3 day window depending on where the mail is sent and delivered. With the proposed change, the new service standard would become 2-3 days, meaning that on average, customers would no longer receive mail the day after it was mailed. If implemented, the change in service standards would allow for significant infrastructure changes to be made across the nation.