Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exxon, state still insist no oil found in Lake Conway

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM

IN THE MARSH: Crews continue to work in wetlands near Lake Conway using pumps, heavy equipment and absorbent pads to clean up spilled oil.
  • Joint Command
  • IN THE MARSH: Crews continue to work in wetlands near Lake Conway using pumps, heavy equipment and absorbent pads to clean up spilled oil.

A Sierra Club release yesterday, based on independent findings of a maker of oil spill cleanup material, suggested oil from the ExxonMobil pipeline break could have found its way into the main body of Lake Conway. We mentioned that here. Other media have reported on the findings and the tester's belief that his findings of chemical came from testing of water "columns" at different depths in the lake, rather than surface or lake bottom samples.

The news seems to have prompted this lengthy response from the state Department of Environmental Quality, detailing the various places it has taken water samples. Bottom line:

Based on an analysis of all samples taken to date the department has no evidence upon which to conclude that oil from the spill has reached the main body of Lake Conway or Palarm Creek. In the cove of Lake Conway the Department continues to monitor water quality and the effects of the spill on the aquatic community.

The ADEQ statement was released eight minutes after a release from the "Joint Command," an Exxon-run public relations operation, that continued to reiterate: "Water sampling confirms the main body of Lake Conway remains oil-free." Here's the full release, which says cleanup efforts are transitioning from an "emergency" response to "the longer term work of remediation and restoration."

The full ADEQ release is on the jump:

NEWS RELEASE

ADEQ CONTINUING TO MONITOR LAKE CONWAY

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality continues to monitor water quality in and around Lake Conway to track any potential environmental impact from an oil spill that started in Mayflower on March 29.

Since early April, ADEQ has taken samples twice a week at a number of locations in the cove and main body of the lake. In all, 20 sites are currently being sampled by the Department. The sites were chosen with the input of ADEQ scientists as well as those at other state agencies, such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

“We realize the public has a lot of questions about the type of sampling being done in the area, and we want to make all information available,” said ADEQ Director Teresa Marks. “We are providing all the data we have on our website and are willing to review credible data from independent parties should that data be made available to ADEQ. We are committed to ensuring this cleanup is properly completed.”

As the state on-scene coordinator, ADEQ has closely reviewed the cleanup and remediation efforts.

Department employees are taking surface water samples at about a foot and a half. They are also taking deeper samples at various depths of between four and a half to five feet deep, depending on the lake depth at the given point.

Based on an analysis of all samples taken to date the department has no evidence upon which to conclude that oil from the spill has reached the main body of Lake Conway or Palarm Creek. In the cove of Lake Conway the Department continues to monitor water quality and the effects of the spill on the aquatic community.

Water quality data from ADEQ, EPA and ExxonMobil can be found on the Department’s website www.adeq.state.ar.us. Air monitoring data from EPA and ExxonMobil is also on the site. The data, which is updated daily, and a map of the surface water sampling sites can be found on ADEQ’s website by clicking the “Latest Data from Mayflower Oil Spill” in the Hot Topics section of the home page.

The response to the spill has been a coordinated effort between EPA, ADEQ, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Faulkner County, the city of Mayflower, the responsible party (ExxonMobil) and many others

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