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Green paint almost, but not quite, gone

Tuesday - 8/6/2013, 9:46pm  ET

cleanpaint.jpg
William Adair of Gold Leaf Studios remove green paint from the organ in the Washington National Cathedral's historic Bethlehem Chapel, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, in Washington. Officials at the cathedral discovered the paint inside two chapels Monday afternoon. The paint was splashed onto the organ and on the floor inside the Bethlehem Chapel on the basement level and inside Children's Chapel in the nave of the cathedral. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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WASHINGTON - Not so fast. The vandal's green paint doesn't wipe clean so easily.

Nearly two weeks after green paint mysteriously appeared splashed on Washington landmarks, the cleanup continues.

On Wednesday, workers will apply a new product to the remaining spots of green at the Lincoln Memorial. The clay and solvent mixture is formulated to draw out the stubborn remnants.

After a day of soaking, the Great Emancipator's statue will be power washed on Thursday. Scaffolding could remain in place until Friday - more than two weeks after the vandal struck.

The National Park Service says more than 99 percent of the paint has been removed and that there won't be any permanent damage. Officials admit the process has taken longer than they originally thought.

Some parts of the Memorial appear cleaner than before the paint attack, Park Service spokesperson Carol Johnson noticed.

More than 300 total working hours have already gone into paint removal at the Lincoln Memorial.

At the National Cathedral, the green paint is gone.

"We've been very fortunate," says Jim Shepherd, the director of preservation and facilities. "We were able to get a crew in here immediately following the event."

Gold Leaf Studios arrived within an hour of the paint slinging and went to work while it was still wet.

The green paint in the Children's Chapel came off easily. Removal in the Bethlehem Chapel took a bit longer because the paint sunk into the grain of the wood on the organ case.

"They were able to get all of the paint off the various different surfaces without permanent damage," Shepherd says.

The Children's Chapel opened last Friday. The Bethlehem Chapel opened Monday.

The initial damage estimate at the National Cathedral was $15,000. The final bill will be slightly higher than that because of the number of craftsmen and conservators it took to restore the chapels.

A Chinese woman with an expired visa has been charged in vandalism at the cathedral. She is being held in a halfway house.

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