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Nearly Two Months After Oil Spill, Evacuated Residents in Mayflower Still Not Home

It has been almost two months since a pipeline ruptured in Mayflower spilling thousands of barrels of crude oil.
MAYFLOWER, AR -- It has been almost two months since a pipeline ruptured in Mayflower spilling thousands of barrels of crude oil.

And while many across Central Arkansas celebrated the holiday with barbecues, friends and family, for folks affected by the spill, life is far from normal.

"You can see it's just nasty.  It was never like this before,"  said Robin Lang as she pointed to green, turbid water in her backyard.
 
Two days before the two-month anniversary of the Mayflower oil spill, folks like Lang who live on "The Cove" section of Lake Conway are still wondering when life will be back to normal.

Oil collecting boom stretches across her lake view, and an airboat patrols daily collecting remnants of the spill.

Lang says wildlife is nowhere to be seen.

"It's like a desert area," she said.  "Everything just left.  I mean what would want to be in this water?"

After we first reported on the self-described forgotten spill victims of The Cove last month, residents say ExxonMobil, which owns the ruptured pipeline, paid them $2,500 for their troubles.

But unlike residents in the Northwoods subdivision - where the spill originated, residents on The Cove say there is no agreement to protect their property values.

"If it touched the property here it should be cleaned same as the subdivision over there," Lang said.  "They're cleaning that property and they should clean this property too."

That's not to say life in Northwoods is back to normal.

All 22 homes first evacuated March 29th remain empty.  Heavy equipment is still present in the neighborhood and yards are torn up.

ExxonMobil has promised to continue its efforts until affected parts of Mayflower are returned to the way they were before the spill.

Of the 22 evacuated families 13 have asked to have air samples from inside their homes tested.  Officials say results are due back any day.  If clear, those residents could return home.
   
Officials say 7 homes were so greatly affected by the oil spill that there is no plan to return residents, and ExxonMobil is looking for "long-term solutions" for those residents.

Residents in two homes haven't asked for the air samples to be analyzed, officials say.


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