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Mayflower Residents Concerned Oil Contaminants Spreading South

MAYFLOWER, AR -- Since the very first day of the oil cleanup effort here, there has been a lot of concern about oil traveling north from marshes near Lake Conway into the open waters of the popular fishing lake.
MAYFLOWER, AR -- Since the very first day of the oil cleanup effort here, there has been a lot of concern about oil traveling north from marshes near Lake Conway into the open waters of the popular fishing lake.

But since that route has been blocked off, some are worried contaminated water is now flowing south toward the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area.

Saturday, skeptics of the notion that oil has been contained deployed an instrument they say will test the water of nearby Palarm Creek to determine whether harmful compounds from the spill are leaching into the environment.

"What we don't know is what's in the water column... what is not being tested is beneath the surface of the water," said Scott Smith.  Smith says absorbent sponges he invented attract and hold oil like a magnet.

He's deploying the contraption in waterways surrounding the spill.

"If there's tar sands oil beneath the surface, with the current that means it's [eventually] flowing into the Arkansas River and that has a lot of implications for the environment and for
the wildlife."

Smith and some residents in Mayflower worry that runoff from contaminated marsh areas near Lake Conway is traveling south  through Palarm Creek.

Life long Mayflower resident Genieve Long says she has even seen what she believes are contaminants floating through the creek.

"It was a shiny substance that would not come together," she said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reiterated its stance Saturday that oil has been confined to the marsh, adding that the agency is not concerned about contaminants getting into Bell Slough.
   
Smith says he plans to have his samples independently tested to prove the E.P.A. wrong.
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