ExxonMobil update for oil spill – April 12th

MAYFLOWER, AR – The Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center provided the following update as cleanup operations continued Friday, April 12, following a release of crude oil near Mayflower, AR.
• Cleanup is almost complete in the affected section between North Main Road and the interstate highway (I-40). Following cleanup, the process of remediation will begin. This will involve restoration of the site to its previous state.
• Cleanup continues in the Northwoods subdivision and the marsh area between the interstate highway and the cove adjacent to Lake Conway. Work in the neighborhood continues and includes replacing a portion of the storm drain system. In the marsh, the remaining oil continues to be contained and is being cleaned up by work crews using a combination of pumps, backhoes and oleophilic and hydrophobic pads, made from specially designed materials that absorb oil but not water.
• Water sampling confirms the main body of Lake Conway remains oil-free. Water samples are also being taken in Lake Conway and 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 over the next several days 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 Northwoods 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. Residents of those homes are being contacted to schedule monitoring and will make their own decisions on when to return. The Arkansas Department of Health has indicated there should be no impact on the health of Northwoods 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.
• 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 12, 223 claims have been made.
Approximately 182 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.
• 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.