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Madison County runs final chemical weapons disaster exercise

Entrance sign to the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County
Stu Johnson
Entrance sign to the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County

Madison County’s Emergency Management Agency held its last disaster exercise as part of the federal Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) Wednesday.

The exercise follows the destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiled at the Blue Grass Army Depot last summer. The depot is in the process of destroying the remaining secondary waste before it closes its weapons disposal plant.

Madison County Deputy Judge Executive Jill Williams says it marks the end of a partnership that has existed since the 90s. Federal CSEPP funding for the county’s emergency services is expected to run out by next June.

“It's really formed a united front and the community for Madison County and all the agencies that would respond to any kind of an emergency,” Williams said. “A colleague said this morning to me, ‘Well, it's really kind of bittersweet, because we've all been doing this for so long, that is the last one, but we've also waited for this for so long.’”

Federal CSEPP funding for the county’s emergency services is expected to run out by next June.

Williams says the county expects to keep emergency services running as they currently are.

“We have the best of the best in terms of training, in terms of access to resources, all those things, and we want to continue that standard that has been set through the CSEPP funding,” Williams said.

The county government passed an ordinance Tuesday meant to keep its emergency services funded, replacing its 911 landline fee with a new service fee for all property owners.

The new fee is set to go into effect in the fall of 2025.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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