Four of the 22 residences evacuated from the Northwoods subdivision, following the ExxonMobile oil spill in Mayflower, are inhabitable again, according to the company.

A press release issued late Monday by the Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center states the decision to move back into the homes is up to the residents, but it is recommended by the Arkansas Department of Health that air quality testing be done in and around the homes before the residents return.

The residents of the remaining 18 homes will be given the option to return in phases as their properties are cleaned, the release states.

Residents of Starlite Road and Shade Tree Lane were evacuated following the March 29 oil spill.

Other residents in the neighborhood and on nearby streets were not evacuated, but officials have kept the public from entering the neighborhood.

ExxonMobil crews have had industrial equipment inside the neighborhood to excavate oil-saturated soil and vegetation.

According to Exxon, the company has received 157 claims from Mayflower residents as of Monday.

"ExxonMobil is paying for the cleanup and will honor all valid claims. The company understands that residents have concerns related to short term out-of-pocket costs as well possible longer-term impacts on home property values and is committed to honoring all valid claims," the release states.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at