Sanitation crews work to remove massive amounts of garbage from DAPL protest camp before spring thaw

CANNON BALL, N.D. - Last week, we showed you all the garbage that was left by Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Now, we're showing you where all that trash will end up.

Sanitation crews are working hard to dispose of six months' worth of garbage from a community the size of Wahpeton or Valley City. The mountains of debris need to be moved before the spring thaw occurs.

Making a dent in the immense amount of trash being hauled out of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp is being hindered by the weather. All the garbage that was left behind is now frozen into massive chunks of junk.

In a month, all this trash could become toxic.

"Standing Rock Environmental Protection Agency and Dakota Sanitation are working together to try and advert an environmental tragedy," says Tom Doering, Morton County Emergency Manager.

It's estimated it will take 250 trucks filled with litter to clear the camp.

"There's a lot of work to be done," says Doering.

Each load that's dumped is inspected by the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

"We are looking for, as I said, anything illegal, anything that might be used to, I guess, harm our officers during a protest," says Jay Gruebele, Morton County Sheriff's Office Captain.

Authorities are also searching through the piles for evidence they hope they don't find.

"As bad as it sounds, we're looking for people that may have died and could be wrapped up in a canvas or a tarp or tent," says Gruebele.

Logistics make cleaning up this mess more difficult.

"Because the bridge is closed, they have to take the long way around, so it's adding haul time," says Doering.

Twenty-three loads have been dumped at the Bismarck Landfill since the cleanup started.

The clean-up effort started about a week ago.