Authorities: Oil Spill in Mayflower contained, lake & residents safe for now

Pulaski County Emergency Response Unit on scene (photo by KATV photographer Ryan Liggett)

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - An oil spill in a Mayflower subdivision has been contained, according to authorities.

A petroleum line ruptured around 3:00 Friday afternoon, according to Mayflower Chief of Police Bob Satkowski. He confirmed to Channel 7 News that the Northwoods subdivision on Highway 89 was evacuated because of health risks from the crude oil fumes and possible fires should any sparks reach the oil.

Faulkner County Judge Alan Dodson said in a LIVE interview on Channel 7 News at 6:00 that the oil flowed into the storm drain system, a drainage ditch, under Highway 365 and under Interstate 40. Emergency responders managed to stop the flow at all locations.

They are now working to strengthen the earthen dams they have set up to ensure the oil does not begin moving again. Once that is done, they will create an underflow culvert that will allow water to drain through without releasing the oil into Lake Conway and then they will begin the cleanup process.

A Hazmat team from the Office of Emergency Management is on site. They said that a lot of residual oil flowed down Starlight Road - one of two main streets in the subdivision.

One home on Starlight was completely surrounded by crude oil, according to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Around 20 homes have been affected by this spill but, as of Friday evening, the oil posed no risk to residents.

No one was digging in the area at the time of the pipeline rupture, according to police.

The petroleum line is owned by ExxonMobil. The company also has a crew investigating.

A spokesperson issued a written statement Friday evening. It read:

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company is responding to a crude oil spill near Mayflower, [AR]. We are working with emergency responders and local authorities to respond to the incident and are establishing an information line for community support.

We regret that this incident has occurred and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this has caused.

The matter is under investigation. We will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available.

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission told Channel 7 News that this is an interstate pipeline so there is no local control, oversight or inspection - only federal by the Pipeline and Hazard Material Safety Administration. They are under the federal Department of Transportation.