Since the 1940s, the United States has stored chemical weapons at various sites throughout the country. Over the last 25 years, these stockpiles have been drawn down in accordance with a 1986 congressional mandate and a 1997 international treaty. The U.S. Army is legally responsible for both the destruction of these stockpiles and the safety of the communities surrounding the storage sites.
To fulfill the safety part of this mission, the Army established the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) in 1988. CSEPP is a partnership between the Army, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state and local emergency response agencies in the vicinity of each stockpile.
Blue Grass Army Depot, located just southeast of downtown Richmond in Madison County, is the focus of Kentucky’s CSEPP program. Ten counties, including Fayette County, participate in continuous planning and annual full-scale exercises to ensure their readiness for any incident involving the depot’s chemical weapons. Because emergency management deals with all hazards and all phases of disasters, much of this work is the responsibility of DEM and our counterparts in other counties.