Yes, wind, snow, and rain are murder on public property. But as much harm as natural elements do to walls, lamp posts, and signs, high on the list of damaging factors is the human element.
One sore spot when it comes to constituent shenanigans: public urination.
Beyond the stench and unsightliness, the behavior attracts rodents, degrades brick and concrete, eats away paint, and erodes metal — all of which rack up maintenance and replacement costs. In August, a San Francisco lamp post reportedly degraded by years of human and canine pee collapsed and missed a passing driver by inches.
At least two municipalities are combating the problem with a creative solution: public assets that fight back.
UltraTech International Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., offers more than 350 products designed for industrial spill containment and response. Launched in 2012, Ultra-Ever Dry is a two-part spray formulation. A hydrophobic bottom coat is applied to the surface and the super-hydrophobic, oleophobic top coat sheds virtually any liquid.
“The treated walls pee back,” says marketing manager Mario Cruz. “Because stone, brick, or siding won’t absorb the urine, it’s deflected back at the offender.”
Engineered to protect bridges and other infrastructure against corrosion, Ultra-Ever Dry also had been used to shield mining signage, prevent snow buildup on snowboards, and ease pigeon coop maintenance. But an UltraTech International customer in Europe soon discovered another application.
Next page: Finding relief