MAYFLOWER (KATV) - Homes were demolished Monday so that the oil trapped underneath the foundations can be removed. So far, Exxon Mobile has purchased 5 homes in the Northwoods subdivision. North Starlite is the street most affected by the spill that sent roughly 200,000 gallons of oil into the neighborhood.
Six months after the Pegasus pipeline burst, two homes that were never clear for reentry were demolished. In a few weeks, it will be green space.
In less than 4-hours, a single back hoe tore both homes down that have been purchased by Exxon mobile. Exxon Mobil spokesperson, Aaron Stryk says soil test indicated oil got beneath the foundation of three homes. "It was determined that demolition would be an efficient and effective way to remove all of that oil from underneath the foundations."
The oil is under a third home. It is vacant, but still owned by the homeowner. They have several options. The family can choose to allow workers to go inside and drill through the homes foundation to determine how far the oil made it. They can demolish the home, remove the oil and rebuild. They can also decide to have the house lifted and placed farther back on the property. The family is in negotiations with Exxon and at this time they're not sold on staying. Stryk explains, "We are still looking at the most effective means of remediation for that home."
Neighbors a street over decided not to witness the demolition. They say it is a sad day and worry about the future of the subdivision and property values. Representatives with the Department of Health, Exxon and the Department of Environmental Quality were on hand.
Stryk adds, "Now that the work has been done, they will remove the contaminated soil. They will replace it with fresh dirt and then do grading and sodding and essentially it will be green space and that process will take about two weeks."
North Starlite is a ghost town. Of the 22 homes evacuated March 29, 19 have been cleared for families to return but the homes sit empty.
Stryk adds, "We've been doing soil work so we realize there may be a few remaining droplets of oil "There is still work to do in the area. We are going to stay until the job is done."
Right now Exxon is focused on the clean up and say rebuilding homes on the two lots is a possibility.
When the investigation is over, there is a chance the pipeline could reopen.
Twelve families are staying in temporary housing, funded by Exxon.