DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – South Dakota National Guard members, local contractors, volunteers from the community, and South Dakota Department of Correction inmates continued to mass produce sandbags throughout the region June 3.
As the community continues the all-out fight against threatening Missouri River water levels, sandbagging crews at more than 20 sites are producing nearly 500,000 sandbags per day, said Colby Crawford, the Division Supervisor for the sandbagging operation at the Dakota Dunes incident site.
The Gateway facility in North Sioux City is the highest producing sandbag location in the area as military personnel, inmates and volunteers are producing up to 150,000 sandbags per day at the location, Crawford said.
With the success crews have achieved in manufacturing sandbags, ensuring the operation continues to meet the rising demand has presented a challenge for Crawford.
“Sand has really become a limiting factor and I am trying to get ahead on our supplies,” he said.
Sand is being hauled via railcar into Sioux City and transported to operation sites by any one of the 48 dump trucks being used in the operation, yet the supply has barely kept up with the demand, Crawford noted.
“We are working with the sand company now and will increase the operation to two railcars and start hauling directly from the quarry with tandem dump trucks,” he said.
Crawford ordered 4 million more empty sandbags yesterday to ensure supplies last. He estimated that the sandbagging operation is going through a total of 750,000 full and empty sandbags a day.
“All of the supplies are critical,” he said. “As this operation expands we have to plan two or three days out and really keep ahead on our logistics.”
Despite the challenges the operation is facing, the success in production is a tribute to the people working day and night to protect the residents of the community.
“It’s amazing how well people have come together to get this job done,” Crawford said. “There has been an outstanding effort from all the people involved in this operation and ultimately they are getting the job done.”
Sgt.1st Class Darren Bigge, of the SDARNG’s 153rd Forward Support Company from Parkston, is very impressed with the effort and attitude he has seen from his fellow Guardsmen since they arrived Tuesday.
“They have given a tremendous effort,” Bigge said. “It is hot out here and the labor is tedious and backbreaking. Yet everyone has showed a great attitude as we work together to support the residents along the Missouri River.”