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Oil Cleanup Will Take 'Several More Weeks, at Least'

"It's a major inconvenience," said John Doherty of the road block he encounters every time he leaves his home off Durham Road road in Mayflower. "I can wait 20 or 30 minutes to get through the line."
MAYFLOWER, AR -- "It's a major inconvenience," said John Doherty of the road block he encounters every time he leaves his home off Durham Road road in Mayflower.  "I can wait 20 or 30 minutes to get through the line."

The delays are caused by heavy machinery and crews shuttling in and out of the marsh area near Lake Conway where thousands of barrels of oil ended up after they leaked from a ruptured pipeline. 

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality said it will be "several more weeks, at least" before clean up in the area is done.

"They're continuing to remove oiled vegetation from the site, also picking up oil from the marsh as much as can be removed," said Ryan Benefield with A.D.E.Q.

Benefield said oil in the marsh is causing toxins to leach into the cove area of Lake Conway, but only low levels not believed to be harmful, are being detected.

The agency said tests in the rest of Lake Conway and surrounding waterways continue to be clear.

Meanwhile, in the Northwoods subdivision where the spill originated, crews are making final preparations to remove a 52-foot piece of the pipeline that includes the section that ruptured.

Officials say it will be taken out of the ground Monday and then be loaded on a flatbed truck to be taken to a lab for testing.

It's a key aspect of the federal investigation into what caused the spill.

"It's very important because we know what the immediate impact was... we don't know what the long term impact is going to be," Doherty said.
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