Since the oil spill in Mayflower, official studies have shown an absence of tar sands oil in Lake Conway, but an independent study shows otherwise.
ExxonMobil has been charged with gathering water quality data for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality since April 6th when it took over responsibility from the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health. Scott Smith of Opflex Solutions, an oil clean-up company, released preliminary results that stand in contrast with official findings.
“Exxon and the EPA are taking instantaneous water samples, grab samples from the surface. Obviously if the contaminants in tar sands oil, and chemicals, are in the water column beneath the surface you’re not going to get any of those molecules to test.”
Keith Stephens of Arkansas Game and Fish responded to the independent findings of oil in Lake Conway.
“We have no indication there’s any oil in the main body of the lake. We have found no dead fish or anything. Everything that we’ve got says that it’s fine.”
Smith identified what he believes is the cause of discrepancies.
“They seem to not be willing to share the details of exactly how they’re doing the testing. My recommendation to people in the community is to focus on the water column and figure out what is in that water column and test for bio-accumulation.”
Stephens says at this point he is not too concerned for wildlife in the wake of Smith’s finding.
“If we had something to indicate that there might be an issue, then of course. But we’ve had no indication at this point.”
There have been no plans announced from A.D.E.Q or Game and Fish to deviate from current evaluation and testing procedures in the Mayflower area.