ExxonMobil update for oil spill – April 11th

MAYFLOWER, AR – April 11, 2013 – The Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center provided the following update as cleanup operations continued Thursday, April 11, following a release of crude oil near Mayflower, AR.

  • Cleanup continues after the Mayflower area experienced heavy rain and thunderstorms last night. A containment boom system in the marsh and the cove adjacent to Lake Conway ensured remaining oil was contained . Visual inspections did not find any evidence of oil migration as a result of the rain.
  • Water sampling confirms the main body of Lake Conway remains oil-free. Water samples are also being taken in the cove. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and ExxonMobil are continuing to monitor water samples.
  • An excavation and removal plan for the affected portion of the pipeline has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ExxonMobil anticipates the damaged section of the pipeline will be removed this week and will be sent to an independent third-party laboratory for metallurgy testing. Current work includes vacuuming existing oil from inside the pipeline in preparation for its removal.
  • Efforts to return residents to their homes in the North Woods subdivision continue. The Arkansas Department of Health has agreed to a re-entry plan for up to 10 homes in the evacuated area, following indoor air monitoring. The residents of those homes are being contacted to schedule the appropriate monitoring. The decision for indoor air monitoring  and to return is up to individual residents. The Arkansas Department of Health has indicated there should be no impact on the health of North Woods neighborhood residents.
  • Air quality monitoring is being conducted continuously by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ExxonMobil separately. The Arkansas Department of Health has established air quality levels for permanent re-entry in the evacuated areas. Data from the air monitors in the Mayflower community continue to show levels that are either non-detect or below action levels established by the Arkansas Department of Health.  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
  • ExxonMobil is paying for the cleanup and will honor all valid claims. ExxonMobil is developing a plan to address concerns about the long-term value of homes in the North Woods neighborhood up to and including home purchases. Residents can call a claims hotline (1-800-876-9291) for more information. As of April 10, 208 claims have been made.
  • Four snakes, 21 turtles and a toad were released today. Approximately 158 live animals have been captured to date. Fourteen animals of various species have been released and approximately 27 are still being cleaned. The majority of the impacted wildlife have been reptiles, primarily venomous snakes. Fish in the main body of Lake Conway have not been affected.
  • U.S. Environmental Services and Wildlife Response Services, ExxonMobil contractors, are caring for recovered animals. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are actively involved in the response effort to ensure wildlife is properly captured and treated. Appreciation is extended to the Hawk Center, which initially cared for wildlife during the emergency response.  Residents who find injured or oiled wildlife should call the claims hotline (1-800-876-9291) and not approach wildlife for their safety and the safety and welfare of the wildlife.
  • The Unified Command estimates approximately 5,000 barrels of oil were spilled on March 29. A final estimated release volume will be provided once the line has been repaired and refilled.
  • The cleanup effort includes a combination of vacuum trucks, pressure washing, and the removal of contaminated soil and vegetation. It also includes the use of oleophilic and hydrophobic pads, made from specially designed materials that absorb oil but not water.
  • About 700 people are responding to the incident including federal, state and local personnel.
  • There has been no impact on Mayflower’s drinking water supply. Community Water System manages 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.