Sgt. James Blanton with Unified Police Department Canyon Patrol said the cottonwood canyons are a watershed, providing drinking water for the valley.
What may seem like harmless graffiti, could mean chemicals getting into the water treatment—and UPD said they are seeing alarming amounts of graffiti in the cottonwood canyons.
“A lot of it is just mischievous graffiti, painting on rocks, slurs and sayings,” said Sgt. Blanton.
It’s not the words painted across the rocks that are alarming, but the amount of paint it takes to make the graffiti show, and the amount of chemical it takes to get it off.
“What we do is we use what’s called elephant snot or lack of better terms, that’s what they call it,” said Sgt. Blanton.
It’s a non-chemical based solution that costs $100 a gallon.
Combine it with a whole lot of elbow grease and the paint eventually washes off—then whatever is leftover on the rocks is treated with chemicals.
“The more chemical you use to get that graffiti off, the more chemical goes into the water, that has to be taken out of the water treatment plant,” said Sgt. Blanton.
“The cleaner we can keep the canyon,” Sgt. Blanton said. “the cleaner we can keep the water going through treatment.”
“Our goal is to clean it off as soon as possible so that others don’t see the graffiti and think this is a great spot to graffiti,” said Sgt. Blanton.