Mayflower residents still waiting to go home after oil spill

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - Arkansas Health Department officials approved some of the 22 families displaced by the oil spill to return home but many said they still wouldn't go back.

Four families were approved Monday but the families we spoke with said they were choosing not to return. One said air quality testing inside their homes had not been completed so they had to wait at least one more day.

Other residents said that the smell from the oil was no longer what was keeping them away, but the construction trucks and crews brought in to clean up the spill.

The first weekend after the Pegasus Pipeline ruptured in the North Woods subdivision, only about 16 city workers were in the area, including street, water and fire officials. Those workers hours are being tracked by the city, but are being paid for by ExxonMobil. In the first two days, they racked up just shy of 300 hours, costing the company $7,218. The following week cost them time for 12 employees, including 123 regular hours and 139 hours of overtime.

City Treasurer Dale Carter said they would also be calculating the costs for use of equipment and materials but that, so far, ExxonMobil had been cooperative and quick to reimburse the charges.

ExxonMobile officials said Tuesday around 700 people have now responded, including federal state and local personnel. There are about 10 - 12 Arkansas Game & Fish (AGFC) wildlife managers doing off-duty work for ExxonMobil. The AGFC off-duty policy requires them to use their own vehicles and gear.