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Rain Causes Additional Concern for Oil Cleanup Crews

Additional crews work in challenging conditions to keep the oil from the Mayflower pipeline rupture from spreading.
MAYFLOWER- Additional crews work in challenging conditions to keep the oil from the Mayflower pipeline rupture from spreading.

Exxon VP of Operations, Karen Tyrone, says the company increased the clean up response with more than 640 people working 24 hours a day to sop up the oil. "Precaution is the word here. We're not going to put people at risk. We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable before these residents return to their homes."

Rainfall is a major concern, and preventing it from washing the oil into uncontaminated areas.

Exxon Mobil is working with the Arkansas Department of Health and Mayflower Waterworks. Air quality samples tested are fine, and there is no impact to Mayflower's drinking water supply. However, 6 days after the pipeline ruptured last Friday, homeowners still can't go back yet.

Tyrone says much of the free-standing oil has been recovered. The rest is being cleaned up by pressure washing and absorbent pads. Tyrone says Lake Conway remains oil free, and despite the challenging rainy weather, crews have created a containment system using "booms" or floating barriers. "We don't want rain to migrate the oil as water runs off, as it collects, we want to make sure oil doesn't touch more areas than it's already touched."

But for homeowner Jimmy Arguello, living in hotels is not only inconvenient, but almost impossible. "We stayed 2 nights at the Fairfield in Conway and they couldn't book us anymore. Now, we're at Candlewood, but we have to be out by tomorrow at 11am because the rooms are already booked with other people's reservations."

Arguello says Exxon is fronting the short term costs, but he's worried about long term compensation. "Me and my wife, we're adults, we can struggle and make sacrifices, but my kids are my main concern. I want to make sure they're O.K. when it's all done."

Exxon Mobil considers this a significant oil spill and is bringing in resources from all over the country. Company representatives are pleased with the progress and cooperation from federal, state, and local agencies.
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