Student plans to test Mayflower oil spill for dispersants

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - An environmental geology student at UALR plans to set up a lab within the next six months to test if illegal chemical dispersants are being used to clean up the oil spill in Mayflower. Alyssa Martinez told Channel 7 News that she believes the situation needs to be looked into.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has not approved the use of chemical dispersants to be used in Mayflower, but also told Channel 7 they aren't testing for the chemical either.

"ADEQ is not aware of any dispersants being used nor have we approved the use of any. We typically would not test for constituents/products that are not approved for use.{} ADEQ is conducting continual oversight," said Katherine Benenati, a spokesperson for ADEQ.

{}Exxon Mobil told Channel 7 News today that they are not using the dispersants.

"We are not using any type of chemical treatments in Mayflower," said Aaron Stryk, a spokesperson for Exxon said.

Martinez says that system isn't good enough because there are no checks on Exxon to make sure they are complying.

"I don't believe they've been used yet, but it definitely needs to be looked into. It's a cause for concern," Martinez said.

"If you don't have it any of the samples, then it's not being found, but if you don't test for it, then you're not going to know," Martinez said. "There's no tests that have been done so far that I've seen, and I've looked over thousands of pages of documents, that they've tested for this chemical fingerprint for dispersants."