DAPL protest camp land returning to normal

Published: Feb. 28, 2017 at 5:31 PM CST
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Cleanup progress at the main Dakota Access protest camp has sped up exponentially since the camp was cleared last week.

The overall changes to the Oceti Sakowin protest camp over the last week can be hard to believe but it's almost completely clear of any waste.

The transformation of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp is almost complete. From full of people and structures to a near empty piece of land.

"We had some great contractors some good equipment operators working on the Morton County side, and on the Standing Rock Sioux side and they just made incredible progress," said Tom Doering, Morton County emergency manager.

Close to 600 loads of garbage have been removed since cleanup began, more than 300 over the weekend.

Law enforcement has been dealing with the protest for six months, but hadn't set foot in the camp until Thursday.

"My impression was how filthy it was, how much stuff there was and how much refuse there was," said Deputy John Moll Morton County Sheriff’s Office.

It's not just garbage that needs a close look.

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has spent over 200 hours looking for signs of insect infestation like this in firewood at the camp.

And there's the matter of improperly disposed of human waste.

"Then there's the matter of the open pit latrines that have to be sealed off so that none of that gets into the river," said Doering.

There's two other protest camps nearby, one is being cleaned by the tribe and the other still has residents.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a $1 million contract to cleanup the camp, that does not inculde money the state and Morton county have spent