City of Sioux Falls installing Trap Bag system ahead of potential flooding

Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 8:15 PM CDT
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Thursday night the Sioux Falls Public Works team has found a new system that may just keep those flood waters out of neighborhoods. Work has started to build a temporary levee in one south Sioux Falls neighborhood.

Work is underway near Philips Avenue and Twin Oaks Road just south of Tomar Park and the Big Sioux River.

This neighborhood was completely under water just a week ago and now the city is installing a barrier system with more than 800 tons of sand. It’s called the Trap Bag system.

“The city went to work immediately after we were made aware of the potential for flooding impacts again and identified this neighborhood as one that may need some additional protection,” Principal Engineer with Sioux Falls Public Works, Brad Ludens said.

It’s a barrier that is used in place of making sandbags for flood protection. It’s been a popular barrier that’s been used many times in other places known for flooding, but will this system hold out the water?

“Based on the forecast from the National Weather Service and the river modeling information that we have we believe that these will be sufficient for any flood waters that we may see,” Ludens said.

Each bag is filled with sand from the top that are connected into 50 foot sections that are two foot tall. This barrier will be 2,100 feet long.

Lundens said those who live in this area are concerned.

“The event that happened last week happened very quickly and we didn’t have the opportunity to react like we are able to for this event so certainly they’re concerned and we’re responding to provide protection as much as we can,” Ludens said.

So why use trap bags?

"We do it with 60% of the sand and we do it 100 times faster," Trap Bags COO, Buzz Waid said.

If you're stacking sandbags it would take hours and hours to make sure they were stacked properly and water didn't get through.

"It just saves a massive amount of time, it saves labor, people don't get out here and get injured they don't get exhausted. Right now we've got a couple hundreds of feet up with just one man and a man on a bobcat," Waid said.

If this system does not work the city does have another way they plan to respond. This project should be completed by Friday before the river crests Sunday.