Exxon to begin transition into final phase of clean-up efforts

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - If you drive through Mayflower you can still see crews and machinery in the area but one official says that things will be noticeably different as the oil company transitions into the last phase of their clean up efforts.

"The next step in the cove is to complete the sign off from emergency response to monitoring and remediation and restoration," said Judge Allen Dodson, who's been working closely with Exxon since the pipeline ruptured in March.

After nearly two months of cleaning up officials say they are now ensuring the environment stays in check.

"We need to make it official that we need to put an organization in place that will be here to monitor," said Dodson.

Judge Dodson says that Exxon is preparing to hand it off to an organization that will focus solely on making sure that there are no abnormalities in the cove.{}This means Exxon's presence will not be as strong.

"Thirty or 35 people who are dedicated to monitoring to see if anything drops off over time for weeks, for months, changing any boom out that needs to be changed out," he said.

Dodson says this transition does not mean Exxon is finished working with affected homeowners.

"I would invite them to please call and make a claim with Exxon," he said. "It's Exxon who is financially responsible."

Fifteen families have yet to return home although air levels are being tested. There is still no timeline on when they can return.