Day 1 of camp cleanup after DAPL protesters leave

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CANNON BALL, N.D. - It didn't take long for cleanup crews to begin the enormous task of returning the main Dakota Access camp to its pre-protest state.

While Thursday's law enforcement operation to remove the remaining demonstrators from the camp, heavy equipment moved in to areas of the site cleared and began working.

Reclamation efforts are fast and furious now that the base for DAPL protest activity has been vacated. The date returning the area to its pre-protest camp condition is unclear but those associated with the project wants it completed as soon as possible.

Work crews are accelerating the removal of what remains of what was once a bustling community.

"If we start falling behind I'm going to try and get us more trucks to speed this up.

Logan Thompson is in charge of Prairie View Excavating’s work crew at the camp. He's one of several contractors assigned cleanup duty.

"Just basically try and get this site as garbage free as possible as fast as possible," said Thompson.

Load after load of trash is being trucked out as fast as front loaders can dump debris.

"We want to ensure that we mitigate trash, debris, waste or anything else from ending up in the water or contaminating that water," Cpt. Ryan Hignight U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Workers came into the camp almost immediately on Thursday to start cleaning. They hope to be done as soon as Monday. The most significant challenge? The mud.

"The mud has been killing us, absolutely. You can't get the trucks in and out fast and that just slows things down," said Thompson.

Everything left here isn't being trashed.

"The tribe is out there currently, members of the tribe or their contractor are removing raw lumber or anything that is usable and taking it out and reusing it as they can," Hignight.

Cleanup will continue through the weekend because while the water isn't rising yet this area has always been in a flood plain.