As river continues to rise, volunteers fill almost 13,000 sand bags

Thursday, July 7, 2011
Volunteers filled almost 7,700 sandbags in the Malta Bend bottoms on Wednesday, July 6, with help of an automatic filling machine.

With the help of an automatic sandbagging machine, volunteers filled almost 7,700 sandbags on Wednesday, July 6, in the Malta Bend bottoms.

"We couldn't have done this without great neighbors," said farmer Don Malter, who has land in the area. "We really want to thank everybody who has come out to help us."

Over 50 volunteers helped to bag, tie, stack and move the bags, which are being stored on pallets along corn and bean fields near the levees. The machine and volunteers sacked three different sand piles during the day, two in the Malta Bend levee district and another at the Cole Lake Levee District, located between Malta Bend and Grand Pass.

Using an assembly line style, volunteers pass down sandbags to tie and stack. Over 50 people, including 10 prisoners from the Boonville Correctional Facility, helped to bag 7,700 bags on Thursday, July 7.

The volunteers included 10 prisoners from the Boonville Correctional Facility, as well as employees from Central Missouri Agri-Service, employees from Springwater Greenhouse, the Malta Bend FFA, Marshall FFA members, area landowners and neighbors.

The sandbagging machine was provided by the Army Corps of Engineers after a formal request by Saline County Presiding Commissioner Tom Stallings. The machine, brought from Manhattan, Ks. by two Corps employees, was used to fill almost 13,000 sandbags in the county. On Tuesday, July 5, a large group of volunteers from the Saline-Lafayette Levee District used the machine to fill 5,200 bags.

On Thursday morning, July 7, the river level at Waverly again recorded a new second high crest, coming in at 30.26 at 11:30 a.m., breaking the mark set just last weekend. The highest recorded level was 31.15, recorded during the Flood of 1993.

As sandbags are filled automatically, they were passed assembly-line style, tied and stacked, before being hauled out of the way and stored on pallets near area fields.

A private levee protecting land owned by two farmers and providing a buffer between the Missouri River and the Malta Bend Levee is being watched closely. It is currently close to the top with water being held back by over two feet of sandbags in low spots. Over the past few weeks, farmers and volunteers have placed about 4,000 sandbags on that levee.

Right now, officials said they have about 8,000 sandbags stockpiled for the Malta Bend and Cole Lake levees, although they hope they don't need them.

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