Virus Or Not, BigBags USA Ready To Protect Against Floods

The COVID-19 virus is affecting a lot of businesses.  But Tom Spalj wants customers to know that his company, Big Bags USA, is up and ready for business. “I’m sitting on all kinds of inventory, and I have no problems with supplies,” Spalj told The Waterways Journal. He has two warehouses full of finished components for his patented flood protection solution system.

During this spring’s early high water, when many observers were afraid that the Mississippi River and its tributaries might repeat last year’s flooding, Big Bags USA was called on to place three miles of its flood barrier on either bank of the River Des Peres in St. Louis, Mo.

It’s also being used for shoreline stabilization along the Great Lakes, which are experiencing record high water levels.

Spalj said he’s also been getting work as the Corps of Engineers and local authorities repair the extensive damage to levees caused by last year’s record flooding. BigBags’ system has been designated as a disaster preparation supply. This designation means they can be purchased and stockpiled under the 2019 Stafford Act, which provides federal help to local authorities for preparing for major disasters.

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BigBags USA’s multi-bag system uses a patented connection between its extra-thick polypropylene bags. During the epic floods of 2011, the Missouri Department of Transportation deployed three miles of BigBags along Highway 44. A complete system unit comprises five bags and their connections. The system can be set up and filled with sand (either by machine or hand) much more rapidly than old-fashioned sandbags or other types of filled barriers.

Those other barrier types are a little bit of a sore point for Spalj. He said his solution is getting so widely known that its name is becoming generic, like “Xerox” and “Kleenex,” and even applied to other systems.  “Not every ‘big bag’ is a BigBags USA system,” he points out. “Our system is much more user-friendly.”