The Lincoln Memorial
Project Location: District Of Columbia, DC
Approx Contract: $40,000
Completion: Aug 2006
Client: National Park Services
Scope of Work
Clean sections of the Lincoln Memorial to remove mold, mildew and dirt.
Power washing companies from across the nation joined together on August 21st and 22nd to donate their services to the Power Washers of North America (PWNA) “Clean Across America” campaign (CAA). Working in a partnership with the Department of the Interior’s “Take Pride in America” initiative, a group of 16 power wash contractors and suppliers joined together to clean sections of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials in our nation’s capital.
This volunteer project was complicated by a series of special obstacles to overcome, including the use of environmentally-compliant cleaning methods and specialized equipment to meet all the requirements of the Clean Water Act. The power washers used in this project required approximately 45 gallons of water per minute to restore the monuments with hot water under very low pressure. At the same time, the contractors had to prevent this water from entering the city’s storm drain system or flow into the Potomac River or Tidal Basin.
Another consideration faced by the volunteers was the age of the monuments. “These structures are a part of our nation’s history and heritage reaching back almost 100 years in time” states Henry Bockman. “The use of pressure below 600 PSI was imperative. Anything above that amount could have caused irreparable damage to the structures.”
The most common misconception about power washing is that all contractors “blast” surfaces clean. The art of effective power washing is so much more than just spraying with high pressure water. Combining education and experience to get professional results, PWNA members are experienced at using the exact pressure to get the job done without causing damage. “Anyone can purchase a high-powered machine to clean their home’s siding or deck and, unfortunately, without the necessary understanding of the proper procedures these poor folks usually cause considerable damage to their property” stated Everett Abrams, The Power Washers of North America Vice President. “That’s one of PWNA’s prime objectives, providing education for all contractors.” PWNA offers rigorous training and educational programs to certify companies in the specialty fields of Wood Restoration, Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning and also Environmental Cleaning. Many of the contractors involved in this project have used their PWNA training and certification to tackle projects like this one. “These PWNA certifications don’t just give us an edge over other companies” states Henry Bockman, “they enable us to take on larger or more sensitive projects. We have learned the proper way to do everything from the cleaning of these monuments to the cleaning of a customer’s home or driveway. We can do specialty jobs that other companies may not wish to pursue.”
The annual Clean Across America charity effort, and this project in particular, was the brainchild of Henry Bockman of Commercial Restorations and Henry’s Housework in Germantown, MD. The contractors came together from all over the country to restore the beauty of over 135,000 square feet of the Danby Imperial Marble, Colorado Yule Marble and Indiana Limestone that was used to build the monuments. Each monument was cleaned in less than 8 hours, taking care to minimize the disruption of thousands of visitors to the memorials. Normally it takes five days for each monument to be cleaned but this group of professionals was able (through their years of experience) to streamline the process into cleaning the building exterior in a matter of hours.
“Cleaning a National Monument is a rewarding experience for everyone involved but it takes careful planning and preparation to take on a project of this size.” Bockman said. The power washing of the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials is the largest and most high profile community service project ever taken on by the Power Washers of North America. Local contractors from Montgomery County and other nearby communities worked together for over a year to find a suitable project of this stature.