Two homes with oil at their foundations were demolished by Exxon Monday in the Northwoods neighborhood in Mayflower, where the company’s Pegasus crude oil pipeline ruptured six months ago.
The two homes, 32 and 36 N. Starlite Road, were never cleared for re-entry after the March 29 spill that leaked thousands of barrels of Wabasca heavy crude and a mixture of industry dilutants into the neighborhood.
Exxon purchased 32 N. Starlight from Charles Williams on Aug. 26 for $151,000, according to Faulkner County’s assessor data at www.arcountydata.com.
Williams purchased the property in 2009 for $130,000. The house on that lot was built in 2006, according to assessor information.
The home at 36 N. Starlite, the second to be demolished Monday, was purchased by Exxon Aug. 21 at a price lower than the amount homeowners paid about a year before the oil spill.
According to records, Jose Modica and Daneshia Roberts-Modica bought the house in 2012 for $180,000, and it was sold to Exxon for $177,000.
The house on that property was also built in 2006, according to records. Since Exxon rolled out an extensive property purchase program for the entire Northwoods neighborhood in the month after the spill, the company has closed five deals, Exxon spokesman Aaron Stryk confirmed, and not all five are among the 22 homes that were evacuated in the oil spill.
Five homes have been purchased, but the number will change soon, Stryk said.
He said the company is in negotiations with the property owner at 44 N. Starlite Road, a third and final home that was never cleared for re-entry by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Mayflower Unified Command.
Stryk said there is oil under the property, which is on a slight incline above the two recently demolished homes, and nearer to the rupture site.
Assessor information shows the property is owned by Greg Doster, and was purchased in 2006 for $165,000.
Stryk said Exxon doesn’t own the property yet, and is talking with the owner about the "next step."
That next step might not be to demolish the home at 44 N. Starlite, Stryk said, and those involved are "still weighing options."
At the demolition site Monday, Stryk said the company was performing air and seismic monitoring as a precaution.
The demolition process took 45 minutes to an hour for each home. Crews used Mayflower fire trucks and hoses for dust control.
Stryk said it would take about two weeks to remove debris and landscape the area, and all work will be done during typical working hours.
He said the decision to demolish the two homes was a recent one, and was determined to be the most effective and efficient way to remove contaminated soil.
Stryk said he doesn’t have information about the depth of the excavation but said new dirt would be brought in, and the lots would be sodded.
Stryk said the two lots owned by Exxon will remain as "green space."
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)