On Friday, I was driving my daughter home from school. When we arrived in our neighbourhood, there was this overpowering smell, despite the car’s windows being closed. And then I saw a river of oil heading down our street. I wasn’t sure what it was at first – for a second I thought it might be dirty water, but of course it was much darker and thicker and smelled awful. It was surreal. I had no idea where it came from, since I had no idea there was an oil pipeline just 100 yards or so from my house.
After about an hour, the police came knocking on doors and we were told to evacuate. We’re now staying with friends, though ExxonMobil has told us they would pay for lodging costs if needed. I’m lucky, since the oil didn’t flow onto my property, but several of our neighbours’ houses have been flooded. We’ve been allowed back for brief visits, under escort, to retrieve belongings, but we have no idea when we’ll be able to return home for good.
"I'm very worried about what this might do to our environment"
I’ve lived in Mayflower for six years, and am concerned about the fact that it seems nobody in the neighbourhood knew that this pipeline carried crude oil – we all just assumed it carried natural gas. As far as I can remember, this wasn’t disclosed to me when I bought my house – and of course, I’m worried that this spill could cause my property’s value to plummet. I’m also very worried about what this might do to our environment, since the oil went through storm drains that empty into a local lake. The authorities have said they’ve been able to stop the spread
, but the cleanup is going to take a long time, and it’s hard to tell right now just how bad the long-term impact of this spill might be.