Cleanup in Mayflower, Arkansas on Saturday, March 30, 2013 after the ExxonMobil oil spill. (Photo: Daniel Wilkerson, THV 11)
MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - After being displaced from their homes for more than a week, some evacuated residents in Mayflower may be moving back in 'within days.'
Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said Monday afternoon that residents of four of the 22 affected homes can start the process of moving back in. The Arkansas Dept. of Health requires that the home be ventilated for at least 24 hours and an air-quality test be performed. Assuming that test is passed, the residents will have the option of moving back in if they wish.
The other 18 evacuated homes will take longer to prepare for move-in, as they are not ready for air-quality testing at this point. While Dodson said 'nearly all' of the oil has been removed from the area, a timetable for those residents has not been provided.
The third phase of homes includes the two houses located closest to the ruptured pipeline. Dodson said it will take longer for those residents to re-enter their homes since Exxon officials are still investigating the cause of the rupture.
Dodson said the town's public affairs team has been in regular contact with the families affected since the oil spill more than a week ago.
The residents were evacuated after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured, sending about 157,000 gallons of heavy crude oil through the Northwoods neighborhood.