Arkansas Realtors Struggle in Wake of Oil Leak at Mayflower

October 1, 2013

Efforts to buy and sell homes in , Ark., have been not been easy since an ExxonMobil Pegasus Pipeline ruptured in March and spilled thousands of barrels of oil in the town near Lake Conway, a local real estate broker said.

Sandy Bridges told the Log Cabin Democrat that she moved to Mayflower in 1995 to sell real estate. She said lenders and appraisers are leery of Mayflower properties since the March 29 spill of about 150,000 gallons of crude oil – even properties far from the spill zone.

However, Bridges said, some of the solutions she’s working on with Exxon would expedite the recovery of the Mayflower real estate market if successfully implemented.

“We’re talking with Exxon now to figure out some solutions,” she said. “My whole goal is to restore the marketplace.”

Some of those solutions may include workshops with appraisers to educate them on specific spill-related concerns.

Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said some areas of the subdivision where the oil spill occurred still are in emergency response because of oil that has seeped under the foundations of some houses.

“Exxon has extended offers to purchase those homes,” Dodson said. “Some have sold, some have not. … That oil has got to be moved one way or another.

“I’m definitely going to be watching that closely,” he said. “We’ll be closely involved. ADEQ (the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality) is the authority, but they have indicated they want to keep us involved and keep us in the loop.”

Dodson said a decision about the pipeline restarting is up to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“I’m interested just like everyone. It needs to be operated in a safe manner,” Dodson said. “It’s probably fair to say they’re going to be extra cautious.”

As far as the community is concerned, he said he is hopeful that a safe and swift conclusion to the situation is approaching.

“Closure can’t come quickly enough for anyone involved,” he said.

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