Mural being removed from Prado Dam

CHINO HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- The 74-year-old Prado Dam in Chino Hills was originally built for flood control to protect San Bernardino County from mountain runoff, and now a $2.3 billion modernization has reconfigured the dam for multiple uses.

"The number on capacity that we have here for the dam is for flood control, that's our primary mission. So if we did have a flood threat we'll make sure that we do have sufficient capacity to handle that flood," said David Van Dorpe with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Right now there's not very much water behind our dam. We're hoping that we do get a little more rain here in the spring before we go into the dry summer months."

The drought has not produced much runoff to store water, but once the project is complete the dam will be able to store most of the rainfall and runoff.

In the years past, much of it would flow from the Santa Ana River down to the ocean, engineers said.

But the Prado Dam is best known for its patriotic mural, which was painted in 1976. It can be seen on the 91 Freeway traveling through Corona.

Upon closer inspection, the mural is faded, damaged by weather and defaced with graffiti. Dam engineers said the mural will have to be removed.

"When it was originally painted in 1976, they used lead-based paints. We can't risk getting that lead-based paints either into our environment, or our water supply, or to the ocean so the mural it does have to come down," Dorpe said.

A public hearing on the mural will be held at Corona High School on April 9. The removal process will begin at the end of April.

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