Cleanup in Mayflower, Arkansas on Saturday, March 30, 2013 after the ExxonMobil oil spill. (Photo: Daniel Wilkerson, THV 11)
MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - ExxonMobil and the city of Mayflower provided the following update regarding the crude oil spill that occurred in the Northwoods neighborhood on March 29, 2013.
"The Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center provided the following update as cleanup operations continued Monday, April 8, following a release of crude oil near Mayflower, AR.
• Cleanup of the North Woods subdivision progressed Monday to the point where four residents have been given the option to begin moving back in to their homes. The Arkansas Department of Health recommended that air quality testing be undertaken in and around the homes before residents return. The decision of when to return is left to the individual residents.
• The residents of the remaining 18 homes will be given the option to return in phases as their properties are cleaned.
• An excavation and removal plan for the affected portion of the pipeline has been submitted for review by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
• Work started Sunday on preparing the pipe near the break so the affected section of pipe can be excavated and cut out.
• ExxonMobil is paying for the cleanup and will honor all valid claims. The company understands that residents have concerns related to short term out-of-pocket costs as well possible longer-term impacts on home property values and is committed to honoring all valid claims.
• A claims hotline (1-800-876-9291) was established for residents affected by the spill to register a claim and get more information. About 157 claims have been made as of April 8.
• Outreach efforts to the community are ongoing and include residents around the cove. Community outreach representatives visited more than 70 homes yesterday alone. If residents have questions or concerns, they should call the claims hotline (1-800-876-9291).
• Wildlife experts Monday released two cleaned raccoons and 10 turtles into the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area adjacent to Mayflower, marking the first release of wildlife since the March 29 incident. The animals were cleaned and cared for by U.S. Environmental Services and Wildlife Response Services, who are ExxonMobil contractors. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission selected the site of the release for suitability and similarity to the area where they were captured.
• Sixteen oiled ducks are being cleaned and will be released in a few weeks. A skunk and a beaver will be released later this week. Twenty-three ducks, a nutria, and five turtles have died. If residents find injured or oiled wildlife, they are asked to call the claims hotline at (1-800-876-9291) so that a trained professional can assist and minimize any potential harm. Residents are asked not to approach wildlife for their safety and the safety of the wildlife.
• Fish in the main body of Lake Conway have not been affected. There is a series of seven containment booms deployed in the cove to protect the main body of Lake Conway. Tests on water samples show the main body of Lake Conway is oil-free.
• Progress continues in the cleanup areas of the North Woods subdivision, an area between Main St. and the interstate highway, and a marsh area between the interstate highway and a cove adjacent to Lake Conway.
• The Unified Command estimates about 27,000 barrels of oily water have been recovered. In addition, about 1,900 cubic yards of oiled soil and debris has been recovered. The Unified Command estimates approximately 5,000 barrels of oil were spilled. A final estimated release volume will be provided once the line has been repaired and refilled.
• Oil is being cleaned through a combination of vacuum trucks, pressure washing, use of absorbent pads and removal of contaminated soil and vegetation.
• About 700 people are responding to the incident including federal, state and local personnel.
• Air quality monitoring is being conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ExxonMobil separately, and data are being reviewed by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Data from the air monitors outside the immediate work areas in the Mayflower community continue to show levels that are either non-detect or that are below any necessary action levels. Workers in the immediate cleanup areas have air quality monitoring and breathing equipment for use, if necessary. Air data are posted on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality's website and updated as it becomes available. http://www.adeq.state.ar.us/hazwaste/mayflower_oil_spill_2013/default.htm
• There has been no impact on Mayflower's drinking water supply. Community Water System manages the Mayflower's water supply, which is sourced from Greer's Ferry Lake, located about 65 miles northeast of Mayflower.
• Local emergency responders from the city and county have made a tremendous contribution to the cleanup operation. The efficiency of the effort would not be possible without all the contributions of these professionals.
• Emergency response personnel were on the ground within 30 minutes after the leak was detected.
• The cause of the spill is under investigation. "