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LOS ANGELES–Whether simple letters or elaborate, colorful designs, tagging–or graffiti–is considered vandalism and is getting a cover-up along some 100 miles of rivers, creeks, washes and channels of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area and Santa Ana River Basin. Crews from Corps of Engineers contractor BJD Resourcing are removing graffiti by water blasting rock-grouted surfaces. According to the project manager, the process helps keep the natural look of the surface.

“Other areas, where it’s a concrete wall or concrete embankment, we go ahead and cover it over with an approved paint, a waterway-safe paint,” said Jeff Vaughn, project manager, BJD Resourcing.

A one-year, $837,000 contract, funded by the Recovery Act, was awarded to this small San Fernando business, to not only tackle a community nuisance, but give people jobs.

“Through this, we’ve brought on four crews; it’s given new employment to about eight personnel and it’s reorganized about three-to-four other personnel,” said Vaughn.

BJD’s four crews, armed with two generator-powered sprayers and 135 gallons of paint each, cover a total of about 810-thousand square feet of concrete canvas per day. Not necessary to maintain channel function, the enhancement work reduces the amount of deferred maintenance within the Los Angeles District’s flood risk management program and improves the many projects in the area.

“People that live around and work in that community are proud to be there,” said Kelly Howard, operations supervisor in the District’s asset management division. “With the graffiti and so forth—urban blight, basically—what we’re trying to do is clean up our assets and make them look presentable.”

The initial clean-up of all areas is expected to be completed by December. The contractor will continue to monitor and paint over problem areas for the remainder of the year-long contract.



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