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Homeowner Affected by Oil Spill: "It'll never be fixed"

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FAULKNER COUNTY (KATV) - A homeowner affected by the Mayflower oil spill sold his home and said he was left with no other option.

It's been nearly five months since the oil spill that forced dozens of residents to evacuate but one homeowner said he would rather give up his home than to go back.

They can't get used to the sight of strangers working away in their back yards removing what's left of the disaster that forced them out of their home. So three homeowners so far are choosing not to be around it anymore. Ryan Senia is one of them.

"After seeing the homes torn up so many times, and seeing the driveways torn up and then re-cemented, and the yards re-sodded so many times, I just feel like there's no other option then to sell to Exxon," said Senia.

Crews have finished landscaping all of the front yards but it's the backyards that concern Senia. Nearly five months later, crews are still working on them, digging and re-digging where much of the oil spilled.

"They keep coming back time and time again," said Senia. "So, even though it looks good on the surface, I'm worried about what's underneath."

Senia said he stops by occasionally and walks through the neighborhood to see what progress is being made. Just this week he discovered something he said let him know he made the right choice.

"Even just a couple of days ago I found oil just two or three house down from mine," he said.

But they're concerns Senia says fall on deaf ears. Exxon cleared 22 homes for re-entry, including Senia's. It's up to homeowners to decide whether they move back in. But temporary housing will no longer be provided in approximately 30 days. In a statement sent to Channel 7 Exxon said:

"The temporary housing was intended to end when homes were determined to be safe for re-entry by federal, state and local officials. It has been extended for several months beyond that time to accommodate residents' needs."

But Senia says going back home for him and many of his neighbors if far from a happily ever after.

"After I handed the keys over to Exxon I just don't feel like there's going to be a happy ending for many people here," he said.

And all he can do now is get out as quickly as possible and wish his neighbors luck.

"I'm tired of being here and I'm glad to be out from under the house," he said. "And I'm hoping that everyone in the neighborhood can get their house sold quickly."

Residents who were evacuated still have the option to do what Senia did and sell their homes to Exxon. The oil company tells us they are currently having settlement discussions with these homeowners.

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