Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson says Friday's rupture of an oil company pipeline in a residential area of Mayflower near Lake Conway could have been much worse than it was.
Workers have stopped the flow of oil out of the pipeline in the North Woods subdivision of Mayflower, and Dodson says he believes the leaked crude is mostly contained. No one was injured, though about 50 homes had to be evacuated.
"It was just coming up out of the ground, something like you've never seen before, a little bit surreal," Dodson said, conjuring images of the opening theme to the 1960's sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies."
"I have to say, I've made reference to that more than once," he said.
Dodson said if the spill had occurred in a flatter area, the oil would have spread more quickly. He said it's fortunate North Woods is a relatively new neighborhood where lots are sloped toward the street, allowing drainage systems to work efficiently.
Workers constructed earthen dams in an effort to prevent leaked oil from contaminating Lake Conway. Rains over the weekend could have an adverse effect on the integrity of the dams, but Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials believe any damage to fish in the lake will be minimal.