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Study: Oil Spill Remnants Likely Affecting Animals in Lake Conway

Sand fleas had a lower rate of reproduction, while worms had a slower rate of growth.
MAYFLOWER, AR -- New tests conducted at Arkansas State University show that animals are likely being affected in part of Lake Conway where oil ended up after a pipeline rupture in March.

Part of what the researchers did was take soil and water samples from the cove area of Lake Conway, then exposed minnows and sand fleas to the water and a type of worm to the soil.

What they found is both the sand fleas and worms appeared to be affected by leftover contaminants from the oil spill.

The sand fleas had a lower rate of reproduction, while worms had a slower rate of growth.

Still, the director of the research program that oversaw the testing says she believes the cove will eventually cleanse itself of the toxins.

"I think over time it will be fine," says Dr. Jennifer Bouldin/ Director, Ecotoxicology Research Facility ASU. "I don't think there's going to be any long-term effects in that cove."

Dr. Bouldin adds that samples from the main body of Lake Conway and a storm creek that runs through the town of Mayflower had no effect on organisms they tested.

The samples were collected in early June, and lab experiments were paid for with a grant from the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper.

Dr. Boudlin says the cove needs to continue to be monitored to see how it is processing left over constituents from the oil.
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