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Report: Gov. Justice appoints Mark Sorsaia as Secretary of Dept. of Homeland Security

DHSEM and USACE Host Bluestone Dam Emergency Exercise 2011 Kickoff Seminar

​CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in collaboration with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, last week hosted the Bluestone Dam Emergency Exercise 2011 Kickoff Seminar held in Charleston, W.Va.

The meeting brought together emergency responders and stakeholders from local, state and federal agencies, as well as private industries, to begin the process of integrated planning for the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure of the Bluestone Dam, located in Hinton, W.Va.

Since its creation in the 1940’s, the Bluestone Dam has saved nearly $5 billion in property damages; however it no longer meets “probable maximum flood” standards. The Army Corps of Engineers has assessed the dam’s needs and will be working to improve its stability and minimize threats over the next several years, with dramatic improvements to be completed by 2012.

Last week’s meeting was the first of several that will culminate in an exercise scheduled to take place later this summer, at which time plans that are currently being developed will be simulated and tested for effectiveness and efficiency.

Presently, a steering committee has been established to coordinate and organize planning and response efforts. In the future, as these efforts move forward, public meetings will be held to raise awareness of possible scenarios and planned responses.

Contact: Heather Miles, 304-558-2930