No. 13 Anti-staph treatment: What cost? January 2008.
No. 14 Cost of Turf Replacement Worries Board of Ed memebr (February 2008).
No. 15 Maintenance-free, eh? An expert's checklist. March 2008.
Editor's Note:The maintenance of a synthetic turf field is not as inexpensive or as ?labor free? as the promoters of artificial turf claim. Understand please, one of the reasons why municipalities undertake to install artificial turf is to cut maintenance costs associated with grass fields. This predisposition to acquire a system that is low-maintenance therefore resonates with the decision-maker, who is assured that the savings and fees from additional playing time will pay "in no time" the $1 million cost of installing a single synthetic turf field. The replacement cost of the carpet part of the field every 10 years or so is $500,000 (in 2007 dollars). The replacement cost does not include the cost of disposing of the old rug and/or layers of the gravel/sand/rubber under the carpet. Most buyers make the mistake of calculating the level of future replacement cost for a single field on the basis of one replacement. A field typically lasts for decades, which makes the true cost of replacing the carpet for a field during its life span - let us say 50 years - at 2.5 million (in 2007 dollars). Moreover, rarely, if ever, the buyers of artificial turf factor in their financial calculations the cost of maintenance, repair and replacement of the drainage system of the field. There is also vandalism and protection from it that add to the coast of maintaining a turf field. The installation of an artificial turf and its maintenance is done by contractors aside of the municipality's or institution's own public works or grounds-and-buildings nodes. For a municipality, with every artificial turf installed there is one whole or fraction of a worker that becomes redundant, as the maintenance of the field is outsourced. This represents a human cost to the existing community work force, until the displaced worker is employed in another capacity. The savings to the employer from outsourcing field maintenance is illusory, because the contractor who repairs and maintains the field will price its services just below the total amount "saved" by the employer. The ultimate silent cost associated with artificial turf is the externality that it imposes on the environment and as such on society as a whole.
[No. 19]Cedar Hill, Texas: Repairs to stadium’s turfdrainage system may cost district $850,000. The CedarHillIntegratedSchool District is located in Dallas County, Texas. In the last two years, the district has been dealing with one expense after another in addressing the ISD stadium turf drainage system. According to a report in Dallas News:
The Cedar Hill school district may need to spend approximately $850,000 to fix a problem taxpayers paid almost half a million dollars to correct two years ago.
Standing water on the field has plagued the district's $6.2 million Longhorn Stadium since it opened in fall 1999. In 2006, the district spent $480,000 to replace the drainage system and artificial turf.
By the time school officials realized water still was not draining from the field, the company that installed the new system had declared bankruptcy.
"The year after it was installed we had a drought so the system wasn't tested, and by the time it rained enough to cause pooling, they had gone out of business," said Mike McSwain, the district's chief financial officer. "The contractor did have insurance, and they came out and looked at it, but they denied the claim."
In addition to water problems, Mr. McSwain said sink holes are forming on the field, creating a safety hazard.
Cedar Hill ISD has hired McKinney-based Sports Design Group to oversee the new installation. Richard McDonald, a landscape architect with the firm, came up with the $850,000 estimate based on similar projects.
Sports Design Group will receive 6.25 percent of the installation cost up to a maximum fee of $55,000, according to Mr. McSwain.
Trustee Valerie Banks said she is livid over the failed fix.
"Spending this kind of money to correct something that's two years old just gives me heartburn," Ms. Banks said.
Alternatively, the system can be repaired for about $130,000, but Mr. McSwain said it would be a temporary patch that probably would only last two years.
Mr. McSwain said the 2006 fix failed in part because some of the drain lines were installed too close to the surface. The company that did the work used a steamroller to press down gravel covering the pipes rather than hand-tamping it, he said. That caused the pipes to collapse in several places.
Artificial turf is designed to last 10 to 12 years, Mr. McSwain said, but the turf will have to be replaced because it's too difficult to re-align the seams. The two-year-old turf will be stored for possible re-use on softball and baseball fields.
Mr. McSwain said several factors have contributed to the higher price tag, including rising oil prices that affect shipping fees and materials cost. Artificial turf is a petroleum-based product, he said. There also is an environment fee for disposing of the petroleum base under the current turf.
"This also will be a more extensive fix than before," Mr. McSwain said. "Last time we tried to rework the base and replace the drainage system. This time we're going to take it up all the way to the base and start over from scratch."
The district received three bid proposals this week from turf installation companies. Two are lower than the estimated cost and one is higher, Mr. McSwain said.
"We'll check each one and make sure they're based on the true scope of the work, then take our recommendation to the board on Monday," he said.
Officials hope to complete the project before the first 2008 football game in mid-September.
Kathy A. Goolsby, “Repairs to stadium’s drainage system may cost Cedar Hill ISD $850,000,” in Dallas News, May 29, 2008, available at
[No. 18] The Boston University turf field will be replaced after only seven years. According to the item in BU Today, the turf field at Boston University’s Nickerson Field will replaced this summer. According to BU’s executive director of constructions services, the field, which is only 7 years old, “has outlived its life.” The rips and tears pose serious safety issues to the teams that practice there on a daily basis, she said. Source: Vicky Waltz, “New Track, Turf on tap for Nickerson Field,” in BU Today (Campus Life), May 20, 2008, available at http://www.bu.edu/today/campus-life/2008/05/19/new-track-turf-tap-nickerson-field .
SynTurf.org Note: The BU artificial turf field is among the older ones in the Boston area. Could it be that the lead scare that has caused the closing of several fields in New Jersey and elsewhere spooked the BU administration?
[No. 17] Grass costs less: turf versus grass comparative maintenance cost. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. April 25, 2008. In the various materials posted on this page, notably Item No. 16 below) readers have been apprised of the comparative cost estimates associated with artificial turf versus natural grass playing fields. While these number provide a basis for an institution or municipality to budget its resources. When a community installs a an artificial turf field, the ultimate financial/fiscal cost borne by the municipality depends very much on its maintenance culture as well as replacing, as matter of carbon neutrality,the subtraction of a natural resource (grass field) with an acquisition of a comparable sizegreen space or equivalent in vegetation.
In the recent literature, SynTurf.org has come across two comparative cost estimates that compare the cost of natural grass with artificial turf. Both bode well for natural grass fields, because they calculate cost of maintenance in manner that it truly affects the financial and fiscal resources (bottom line) of a community.
1. In relation to the Manchester Field renovation project, the town of Winchester, Mass. Will be considering appropriation for an artificial turf field. “A synthetic turf field would allow increased capacity and usage. It would also cost more money to maintain.
Information provided by the town shows that maintenance of a natural grass field would be about $22,100 compared with $38,100 for synthetic turf. The bulk of turf costs are for replacement, which would run about $37,000 annually. Eric Tseti, “Field of dreams depends on where you live,” April 23, 2008, available at http://www.wickedlocal.com/winchester/news/education/x1319858953.
2. “Tire Waste Athletic Fields Have Expensive Hidden Costs, read the title of a balance sheetposted on http://sfparks.googlepages.com/claim6, a website dedicated to saving San Francisco area’s dwindling green space, especially from conversion to artificial turf. Based on figures obtained from San Francisco’s Parks and Recreation Department, the ledger includes two items that are rarely considered when municipalities try to sell a proposed turf installation to the taxpayers.
The average annual cost for the guaranteed life of 8 years is $106,000 for turf and $74,500 for grass. On a 15-year life span, the average annual cost for life of turf evens out with natural grass at $59,333.
The ledger also allows for the cost of disposal of turf, which is $1.75 - $2.25 per square foot, versus $0 for natural grass. This estimate does not include the cost of transportation or landfill surcharges for environmentally controlled products.
The story of an artificial turf does not end with its 15-year life cycle, because a municipality presumably would want to replace the carpet, ensure the integrity of the drainage system and substrate conditions. The carpet replacement alone is $500,000. That too ought to be prorated in the cost of annual maintenance, as should the debt service on any borrowing that finances any aspect of the installation or replacement cost of the turf field. There is also the cost of peripheral requirements as to safety and lighting and camera to ensure the protection of the turf field from vandals or misuse. The cost of repairing a damage caused by vandalism too is a factor that could increase the annual maintenance cost of a turf field beyond the numbers what the sellers of the product and their allies in City Hall would disclose to the public.
[No. 16]Liverpool (NY)field closed due to drainage and substructure problems. In December 2007 the authorities closed the artificial turf field at LiverpoolHigh School in Liverpool (NY). It was an AstroTurf brand, like the field that Syracuse area authorities closed on April 21, 2008 due to elevated lead readings. The problem that led to the closing of the turf filed in Liverpool was due to drainage issues and the field’s below-ground substructure. Sapna Kollali, “High lead levels in turf close C-NS field,” April 23, 2008, available at http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf?/base/news-14/120894131115030.xml&coll=1.
The Liverpool scenario raises two interesting points. First, given the drainage problems at the site, to what extended lead bearing fibers and leachate entered the soil and water resources connected to or abutting the field. Secondly, how does one safely dispose of the lead bearing fields not only in Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse high school but also with regard to the three that have been closed in New Jersey (and at what cost)?
No. 01] The Myth about Maintenance, by Guive Mirfendereski, www.SynTurf.org, revised November 17, 2007.
The purveyors of artificial turf fields often emphasize the environmentally friendly aspect of their product. The buyers are told that by installing the rubber infill variety of fields and other synthetic surfaces that one is helping the cause of recycling used tires and rubber and plastics from the municipal dumps. Mostly, however, artificial turf is touted for eliminating the need for pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that are associated with natural grass playing fields; it requires neither watering nor mowing like grass. These claims are disingenuous because the maintenance of artificial turf has functions that are elaborate, often involving the application of chemicals, with specialized equipment. In order for the benefits of an artificial turf to be realized by the playing public, a rigorous maintenance regime is not only recommended by the manufacturers but is made necessary as matter of warranty or insurance coverage.
The sports field manager for the Detroit Lions football team, Charlie Coffin, told a reporter in May 2005 that "We were sold these fields on the basis that there would be no maintenance. That just wasn't true." [Lynne Brakeman, “Experts spell out the true cost of synthetic turf maintenance,” Athletic Turf News, May 24, 2005, available at http://www.athleticturf.net/athleticturf/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=162975].
One representative sample of the claims that are made by promoters is found on the website Fieldturf (www.midwestfieldturf.com/maintenance.asp): “The cost of maintaining Fieldturf is Minimal. The primary maintenance item is removing leaves and other debris which stray onto the field. Removal is accomplished by a tractor-pulled vacuum system. These tractors can be used without removing the fill material. Fieldturf also recommends brushing the field (every 9-10 weeks depending on use).”
The maintenance of an artificial turf filed requires a number of treatments – combing, deep-tining, fluffing, application of herbicide, and sanitation. Combing is a process whereby the synthetic grass blades are brought back to “life” by combing the field and applying crumb and sand mix. The deep-tining procedure ensures that the rocks and other matter, like shard of glass if the filed is located on an old dumpsite, are pushed back below the grade so that they do not cause injury to the players. In indoor installation particularly, gallons of fabric softener is used in order to rid the field of the smell of rubber and other odors. The fabric softener may also be used to rid the field of static electricity, even though for this purpose often watering does the trick. . Herbicide is required to ensure that seeds of plants and fruits do not germinate and set roots in the crumb and rubber mix. Field sanitation includes the removal of bodily fluids (spittle, blood, sweat, vomit, urine), and/or bird or animal droppings may present a unique problem for artificial fields. A revealing discussion of maintenance of synthetic turf is set forth in a Pennsylvania State University study (2007) available at http://cropsoil.psu.edu/mcnitt/infill8.cfm.
The promoters of artificial turf are quick to point out “One of the advantages of artificial turf is that it is unaffected by weather conditions and that is resistant to almost every climatic condition.” Factually, the climate places limits on the playability of an artificial turf, just as it does on the players themselves. Extreme cold, ice and snow conditions, as well as thunder and lightning storms and heavy rain make the field as unusable as natural grass. In the words of Koninklijke Ten Cate, Nijverdal, Netherlands, a manufacturer of artificial turf, “Always available, but not always playable.” In other words, Artificial Turf: Nor for All Seasons!
The manufacturers of the turf often advice the buyers of a large number of conditions that go with keeping the field in good condition. The list of “do” and “don’t” is hardly ever shared with the public. Each of the commands and prohibitions requires an investment of time and resources to accomplish. In the following we have set forth the precautions and protocols issued by Ten Cate about the challenges that winter and fall pose for artificial turf.
No. 02] Ten Cate Thiolon Product Advisory
When the field is covered by a layer of snow, the game is played on the snow rather than the carpet itself. The snow protects the carpet from damage. Note that this will cause the snow to be compacted making further removal difficult. Also: If mechanical snow removal is required, one must ensure that (a) the carpet is not damaged by the removal procedure and (b) the players are not injured by remaining frozen material between the fibers. If there is a reason for removing snow however, use a wooden – never metal! – scrapper or a broom. “Playing under thaw or glaze ice conditions may render the field very slippery causing dangers for the players!”
Furthermore, according to Ten Cate advisory, polypropylene (PP) fibers should not be used for rubber-infill pitches nor for use at low temperatures. In cold (-15°C / 5°F) the PP transitions from rubber-like to glass-like, which makes the fiber brittle. Bottom-line: Polypropylene pitches are never to be used nor cleared at temperatures below 0°C (32°F).
Even the lower sliding resistance (LSR) fiber types should not be used in –20°C (-4°F) conditions. The LSR transition point is around -100°C / -150°F. Click here for full PFD version.
Winter has its challenges, but the real scourge of artificial turf is the fall season. The Ten Cate Thiolon Advisory (Issue 2005-03) on “Autumn-specific care and troubles” is reproduced here verbatim [Click here fr PDF version]: Leave the leaves out please! Pollution is one of the enemies of an artificial turf pitch. The Autumn season forms an important hazard for pollution of the pitch. Leaves and twigs fall down or get blown onto the pitch. Combined with rain, pitches get slippery, systems compact and microclimates are created, enabling moss, bacteria and algae to flourish.
Consequences of pollution. Pollution is fatal to every artificial turf construction. Debris, leaves and small twigs, but also small particles like moss, algae and fine grains of sand can compact the top layer. This forms a hard layer that leads to slipperiness, reduced porosity and increased susceptibility to injuries. Also the lifespan of an artificial turf pitch, naturally, suffers from this.
Removal of leaves and twigs. Use a wide brush, a special vacuum cleaner or a leaf blower. This way the infill materials remain in place. When cleaning, also clean the area outside the playing surface.
TIP: If possible, have the fence around the (soccer) pitch installed at around 10 centimeters from the ground. Leaves can then be blown from the pitch directly.
Moss. Remove moss as soon as it appears with a high-pressure cleaner. If this is not possible due to the infill, moss-killing herbicides can be used. Be very careful with the choice and use of moss-killing herbicides, and always consult the installer of the pitch beforehand.
Bacteria and algae. The combination of “warm” artificial turf, water and particularly light, offers a perfect breeding ground for the growth of bacteria, and to a lesser degree algae, on the artificial turf fibers.
Prevent dirt from settling on the pitch. It is important only to step onto an artificial turf pitch with clean shoe soles. Furthermore the pitches themselves must also be swept and brushed. This also removes all organic materials that have been pressed slightly deeper into the surface. It reduces the formation of bacteria and the increase of algae. Nevertheless, if algae should still arise, then a method of suppression can be necessary.
Algae killer. Prevention of algae growth is hardly possible. Early detection is key, especially in shaded areas. For combating algae, products with the active agent “alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride” (a.o. Dimanin Spezial from Bayer) give very good results, without damaging the artificial turf fibers. In some cases it is possible to add this agent to an existing irrigation system.
In all cases use only carefully chosen products, and always consult the instructions on the package, and local regulations.
Sources: TenCate Thiolon Product Advisory: Artificial turf in wintertime (Issue 2005-01) Ten Cate Thiolon Product Advisory: Autumn-specific care and troubles (issue 2005-03) -- PAThiolon@tencate.com, www.tencate.com, www.thilon-grass.com. For the full PDF versions of Advisory 2005-01 and 2005-03 click on the appropriate icon.
No. 03] Dollars and cents. When promoters or consultants are asked about the annual cost of maintaining an artificial turf field, most often I have heard estimates in the range of $5000 to $10,000 per year. It is upon pressing the promoters and agents for more realistic data that the estimates tend to get revised upward. The fact is that even an estimated maintenance cost of$22,000 is not accurate, as that number is usually with respect to indoor fields and a few years behind the current price list.
Your estimates may also vary if you have an outdoors venue, particularly in a wooded area, snow and ice conditions, hot summer days, and where the local economy enjoys a higher standard of living. Your estimate will also differ if you have greater wear and tear, due to increased playing time, vandalism, and other factors. The cost of supplies, consulting, and maintenance equipment may be yet other factor in determining the ultimate maintenance annual. Extended warranty and insurance premiums too will increase the overall annual cost for the fields. Below are summaries of two seminal works on maintenance cost of artificial turf fields. The first one form Missouri State University is about outdoor field and second one is from Michigan State University’s indoor facility. Instructive in the second summary is the cost schedules in reference to the type of maintenance service, price and equipments involved in the process. A third summary appears at the end of this section from anecdotal information obtained from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
No. 04] Missouri State University/Fresenburg Study. In 2005, Brad Fresenburg, PhD, a turfgarss specialist at University of Missouri Extension concluded that synthetic turf costs more, a lot more, than natural grass to install and maintain. In a 16- year scenario, Fresenburg came up with an annual average cost of$65,846 for the basic synthetic field and $109,013 for the premium synthetic field. Often the low cost of maintenance is a reason cited for the investments. “Don’t let anyone come around and say it’s for cost reasons,” Fresenburg said. In Fresenburg’s scenario, the basic synthetic field would cost $600,000 initially to install and have an estimated $5,000 annual maintenance budget. The premium artificial turf installation was estimated to cost $1,000,000, plus $20,000 annually for maintenance. According to Fresenburg, most public agencies spend much less than $25,000 annually maintaining a natural field. A public agency could take the same money it would cost to install a synthetic field and instead put in a sand-capped field. The remaining money could be placed into a maintenance fund with recurring bond revenue. Then the agency would have a premium natural grass field with most of the maintenance costs covered. “Schools say ‘we don’t have the money to maintain natural fields but then turn around and spend $600,000 to install a synthetic field,’” Fresenburg said. “Everyone is going to this because they want to keep up with the Joneses.” Sand-capped fields are natural grass fields made with a mostly sand base. The fields are less prone to compaction and muddy conditions common in native clay soils. Synthetic grass infill fields are fake grass with a base of rubber pellets or other materials. Source: Chuck Adamson (email@example.com) “Synthetic turfgrass costs far exceed natural grass playing fields,” November 28, 2005, is available at http://new.turfgrasssod.org/pdfs/Synthetic_Turf_Costs_Far_Exceed_Natural_Grass.pdf. Fresenburg can be contacted by phone at (573) 442-4893, with digital download available at: http://AgEbb.missouri.edu/news.
No. 05] Fouty's Perspective. Amy J. Fouty is the Michigan State University’ athletic turf manager. On May 11, 2005, she made a presentation at the Synthetic Turf Infill Seminar, in Detroit, Michigan, entitled “A Sports Field Manager’s Perspective: Synthetic Turf Construction Considerations, Maintenance Costs & Concerns." She stated, "There are concerns with regard to the safety of the products used to make the fields, as well as with how to clean and disinfect synthetic infill fields. Synthetic infill manufacturers need to get information and solutions out to the people who have to deal with these issues on a daily basis."
Among the problems tackled by Fouty was the removal of metal objects that got tossed or dropped on the field. She has her crew manufacture a field magnet that could be dragged over the field once or twice a year to capture the objects. Furthermore, "If you paint lines, the first time you groom over the lines the product spreads over the field. The dried paint is abrasive, slippery and the lines don't look good very long," she said. And, for the first few years, static control is a problem that requires a spray of diluted fabric softener. "It also takes away the old tire smell," Fouty said. "Without the fabric softener, our indoor facility smells like old tires and locker rooms."
Fouty’s presentation included a break down of the annual maintenance budget for MSU's 3-year-old synthetic infill field (indoor), which added up to nearly $23,000, on such items as equipment, outside contractors, materials, and labor for regular field grooming. Outside Contractor Maintenance Charges
- Consultation and/or Training: $1,200 to $3,000/day plus expenses - Repairs: $30 to $70/linear foot - Crumb Rubber:$.50 to $1.00/pound applied
Synthetic Turf Maintenance Equipment : Total:$8,250 to $82,000
-Boom Sprayer:$1,000 to $35,000 -Sweeper: $500 to $3,000 -Broom: $500 to $3,000 -Painter: $500 to $3,000 - Groomer: $1,500 to $2,000 -Cart: $2,500 to $16,000 (for towing equipment) -Field magnet: $500 to $1,000 -Rollers: $250 to $2,000
No. 06] Boston College Interview (May-June 2006). The Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (Newton/Brookline) has had its rubber infill synthetic field since 2004. According to Mr. Joseph Shirley, Director of Facilities, the college should expect to replace the field within 7-10 years and not the 10-15 years often advertised. The BC field has following maintenance performed on it:
-- Since the infill is disrupted with usage, the field is “raked and flattened” every 2 weeks. This ensures that the rubber and sand infill is distributed evenly over the entirety of the field surface. BC purchased a machine as part of the overall construction project by Geller Associates, BC’s artificial turf contractor. The machine is made up of a tractor with various devices to rake and flatten the field and accessories for snow plowing, snow blowing, leaf blowing, and more.
--After raking and flattening, the field appears black owing to the rise of sand and rubber to the surface. The field is watered with a sprinkler system to (i) eliminate severe static electricity and (ii) push the sand and rubber back into the base below the synthetic surface.
-- Geller Associates performs “deep tining” using much larger equipment with a bigger rake that goes down deeper into the surface and removes any bigger rocks or debris deeper in the bottom. It also removes any foreign debris (e.g., metallic, organic, etc.) that gets into the turf. This is done twice yearly at a cost of $3500 per application.
--An anti-bacterial treatment is applied once monthly. This is sprayed on via a tractor with “fertilizer-type” sprayer once a month (probably not a good idea to spray on anti-bacterial agents with a device also used for fertilizer).
--Rips are fixed periodically. --Based on full-time usage, a “bounce test” is performed every year to determine the status and viability (safety) of the field.
No.07] More Equiment: A Pictorial ...
In addition to the pictures featurd at the left margin of this page, here are some more devices used in maintenance of an artificial turf filed.
No. 08] Who says turf doens't need watering!? Here is an item by Anne Blythe, “Fake turf watered as supplies dry up: Hockey fields need soaking,” News Observer, October 19, 2007, available at
But in the midst of what may be the worst drought ever in North Carolina, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are watering the synthetic turfs used by their field hockey teams.
The International Hockey Federation insists.
The universities are not breaking any rules. But like clockwork, as residents in Durham and Chapel Hill see their plants and lawns wither, the sprinklers go on at the UNC-CH Francis E. Henry Stadium and at Duke's Williams Field.
Brad Schnurr, a Chapel Hill contractor who does work in Durham, saw the sprinklers go on one afternoon recently at Duke and drove around the block to make sure he was not seeing things.
"Sprinklers aren't even the right term, they're like fire hoses," Schnurr said. "I was like, 'What is that? What is that?' I couldn't believe it."
The International Hockey Federation requires the college teams to saturate the synthetic turfs before each practice and all games.
It's not just the way the ball bounces, athletics officials say, although field hockey balls do bounce better on saturated fields. When the turf is wet, coaches add, field hockey players have better grip on the surface and report fewer injuries.
Beth Bozman, Duke's field hockey coach, said she understood why passers-by could get all worked up over sprinklers going full blast amid conservation pleas.
"I drive a hybrid, and I recycle," Bozman said. "I'm as green as anybody. I understand."
Durham, which has about 69 days left in its water supply at the current use rate, has banned all outdoor watering. Duke, which could not supply a number for the gallons used on turf watering, gets a business exemption to spray the field and other places on campus as long as overall consumption decreases by 30 percent.
Outdoor watering was permitted in Chapel Hill until Thursday night, when the Orange Water and Sewer Authority adopted more restrictive conservation measures. It was not clear whether UNC-CH would be able to water the field hockey turf for a home game Saturday. OWASA, which reports 180 days left in its supply at current use rates, provides special exemptions for safety reasons.
When Durham started its conservation measures, Bozman cut the turf watering at Duke from 36 minutes per day to 6 minutes on the days the team takes the field. She also asked more of her entire staff.
"We made a commitment that we would not water at our homes," she said. "We're very empathetic to the needs of the community."
The International Hockey Federation, based in Switzerland, could not be reached for comment.
But the requirements certainly raise questions on Triangle turf.
"People want to know why in the world we're watering an AstroTurf field," said Willie Scroggs, UNC-CH assistant athletics director of game operations. "They can understand why we water a natural grass field, but they don't know why we're watering an artificial field."
At the end of this season, Scroggs said UNC-CH will resurface its field and as part of that process, officials plan to see whether there is a way to capture water and reuse it throughout the season.
"We're trying to be very mindful of the situation in our community," Scroggs said.
After a home game against Maryland this weekend, the UNC-CH Tar Heels will spend the remainder of the season on the road.
Duke, too, will be away more than it's home.
Those trips, athletics officials say, will allow the teams to conserve water.
"We can then be more in compliance with what the community would like," Scroggs said.
No. 09 ]Vandalism adds to the cost of maintenance of artifcial turf. The damage caused by vehicular pranks and burning of the turf occur with greater frequency than is reported nationwide.The news about the torching of artifcial turf in Arlington and Charlestown, Massachusetts, are reported in the "Introduction" page of this website. The frequency of vandalism and the hidden cost associated with it require that an entry be made of such reports on this page. Here is the first one -- in the latest pranks as reported in the media.
On September 7, 2007 the media reported a story about the Holliston (Mass.) High School girls varsity soccer team urinating on an opponent’s field in Medway, Mass., causing officials to disinfect the field in a two-day protocol. The presence of a policeman (on paid detail?) at the prankster team’s next game is yet anohter unimagined cost associated with playing on turf. “Medway School Superintendent Richard Grandmont said the synthetic field, just 3 years old, was not damaged and scheduled matches will not be disrupted. Hanlon Field was hand-sprayed Wednesday [September 5] with ‘an environmentally safe’ disinfectant. It will be retreated today or tomorrow. ‘is is being done very much as a precaution,’Grandmont stressed.” Read more about this story at: Soccer rivalry hits new low, http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/homepage/x477569027, and at Urine trouble at http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1029883.
No. 10] Board considers cameras at field, Capital on line News, August 14, 2007. http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2007/08_14-41/TOP. ANNAPOLIS - The Board of Education is scheduled to vote tomorrow on whether to install a wireless security camera system in the stadium at Broadneck High School. The $41,000 camera system would be installed and maintained free of charge by Lensec, the school system's current vendor for security cameras. Broadneck was chosen for the project because of its new artificial turf field. The technology is new, and because the cameras are wireless, they can be installed farther apart outdoors than the wired versions, said Bob Yatsuk, project manager in the school system's office of school security. Lensec officials said they wanted to try out the new system at a school, and donating this system will give the company a wireless presence on the East Coast and serve as a working example of the system to potential customers."It's no cost to us, and it gives us a chance to try out the new technology and see if it's worthwhile," Mr. Yatsuk said.The school board will meet at 10 a.m. at the school board office, 2644 Riva Road, Annapolis.
YMCA-Newton, Mass. 12/8/07
[No. 11] Bad Maintenance Practices at the West Suburban YMCA! Newton, SynTurf.org. December 8, 2007.The general protocol for dealing with snow-covered artificial turf fields is as follows: When the field is covered with a layer of snow, the game is played on the snow rather than the carpet itself. The snow protects the carpet from damage. If mechanical snow removal is required, one must ensure that (a) the carpet is not damaged by the removal procedure and (b) the players are not injured by remaining frozen material between the fibers. However, if there is a reason for removing snow, one must use a wooden – never metal! – scrapper or a broom. Playing under thaw or glaze ice conditions may render the field very slippery causing dangers for the players! Source: Ten Cate Advisory on snow dealing with turf in snowy conditions, see http://www.synturf.org/maintenance.html [Item: No. 02].
That said – about 12:30 PM on December 8, 2007 (temp: low 40's degrees F), SynTurf.org noticed a group of four men vigorously at work on the artificial turf field at the West Suburban YMCA on Church Street, in Newton, Massachusetts. Each of the four was removing the snow with the help of a common household snow shovel. Two of the shovels appeared to be of the model that has a metal strip attached to the hard plastic edge.
SynTurf.org examined the pile that the crew had shoveled to the northern sideline and western end-zone. No broken polygrass was observed in the snow banks. However, the snow pile contained a generous amount of crumb rubber, which had been removed from the field in the process of snow removal.
Maintenance Question: Did the removal of the snow with shovels violate standard maintenance protocol?
Athletic Health: How safe is it to play on thawing turf or on a surface that is not cleared completely of slush?
Environmental Issue: When the snow thaws and melts away where do the crumbs go? The leachate, if any? Where does the field’s drainage system empty into? Where does the runoff from the field go? The filed is some four feet higher than the street level and the northern side of the field borders the street that has storm drains.
[No. 12] Delaware Riverkeeper slams artificial turf on cost and other issues! October 16, 2007. In a letter addressed to the Radnor Township [Pennsylvania] School Board, Delaware Riverkeeper (www.delawareriverkeeper.org) sought to dispel the myth associated with installation of artificial turf playing field at a middle school in the town. The letter pointed out, among other things, artificial turf costs excessively more than natural grass under every cost scenario applicable to the situation, and the environmental, educational and social affects of artificial turf could not be justified. See the text of the letter at http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/newsresources/factsheet.asp?ID=53 (October 16, 2007).
DelawareRiverkeeper.org has a very well informed Fact Sheet on Artificial/Synthetic Turf. It can be accessed at http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/newsresources/factsheet.asp?ID=50 (September 9, 2007). It discusses the actual and potential adverse impact of artificial turf fields with regard to stormwater considerations, water quality issues (leachate and discharge containing harmful particulates and substances), heat island effect, and costs in dollars and cents terms.
From a cost standpoint, Fact Sheet states: “It is generally agreed that artificial turf costs more to install than natural grass, while natural grass costs more to maintain.Installation and maintenance costs for each must be assessed on a case by case basis depending on site specific conditions.But generally speaking, when the installation and maintenance costs of artificial turf are assessed for the life span of the turf, particularly when the cost of disposal is added, the cost of installing and maintaining natural grass is far less.The guaranteed life and/or lifespan of artificial turf is 8 to 10 years.Some attempt to claim a longer life in order to assert a lower annual cost.” Footnotes omitted.
The comparative cost figures for artificial turf and natural grass as set forth in Delaware Riverkeeper.org’s Fact Sheet:
Cost of disposal: turfunknown (significant/hazardous waste)v.natural grass$0
Av. annual cost for8 yrs:turf$106,000v.natural grass$74,500
Av. annual cost for 10 yrs:turf$86,000v.natural grass$68,000
Av. annual cost for 15 yrs:turf$59,333v.natural grass$59,333
Per Facts about Artificial Turf and natural Grass (Turfgrass Resource Center):
Cost of construction and maintenance per sq. ft.: turf$7.80-$10.75v. natural grass$6.50-$7.95 (with high quality soil amendments), or $2.50-$5.25 (with native soils)
Cost of disposal per sq. ft.:turf $1.75-$2.25v. natural grass$0
Springfield College case study installation and maintenance: turf &105,000v. natural grass$78,000
Av. annual cost for 8 yrs(without disposal cost): turf 800,000 install and annual maintenance of $5,000 v. natural grass $400,000 and $28,000, respectively
Av. annual cost for 10 yrs (without disposal cost): turf $85,000v. natural grass $68,000
Av. annual cost for 25 yrs (without disposal cost): turf$58,377v. natural turf$54,666
Per A Guide to Synthetic and Natural Turfgrass for Sports Fields:
Cost of installation per sq. ft.: turf7.80-$10.75v. natural grass$2.50-$5.25 (if done with native soils), $3.50-$5.25 (if done with combination of native soils and sand),$6.50-$7.95 (if done with sand drainage)
Annual maintenance:turf $5,000-$25,000v. natural grass $4,000-$11,000 (per the case studies provided)
Disposal per sq. ft. (exclusive of transportation and landfill surcharges for environmentally controlled products):turf$1.75-$2.25 v. natural grass$0.
[No. 13]Anti-staph treatment: What cost?“Synthetic turf breeds MRSA Staph: 10 million square feet of turf set to be treated in 2008 in response to MRSA outbreaks,” in PRNewswire, Rochester Hills, Mich., January 8, 2008, at http://blackhole.xerces.com/showthread.php?t=10136.
[No. 14]Auburn, New York: Cost of Turf Replacement In 10 Years’ Time Worries Board of Education Member. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. February 24, 2008.
Joseph Leogrande is a member of Auburn Enlarged City Board of Education. Auburn is small city located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The heart of Cayuga County, this city of some 32,000 people lies at the northern tip of Owasco Lake. This May, the voters in this educational district will be considering an ambitious project to renovate and expand the athletic facilities at Holland Stadium, which is located on the grounds of East Middle School. The $15.68 million capital project will pay also for the installation of synthetic turf at the stadium.
Leogrande has questioned the cost and environmental/health risks associated with artificial turf. In that, he is not alone as many around the country do make similar points about the product. Leogrande however has put his finger on something that hardly gets any attention – the cost of replacement of a turf field every 10 years or so. “Down the road, in 10 years, we're going to have to replace it with no state aid. It will be a full shot, like one or two million dollars,” he told Alyssa Sunkin of The Citizen . “Combined with the toxicity and the very expensive surface, I think we can put the money somewhere in the school for education,” he continued, “That's what we're here for.”
Even in this debate – the public needs to be told that the replacement happens every 10 years for as long as there is a field. The impression that the public pays for the turf once at installation and again for a replacement 10 years later supposes that a field will have useful life of 20 years total. That is not the case in most instances when a playing field, natural or artificial, would be a round for decades after decades.
[No. 15] Maintenance-free, eh?An Expert's checklist. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. March 17, 2008. For some time now, Syn Turf.org has been informing the public about the fallacious notion that artificial turf does not require maintenance. The maintenance-free or low-maintenance cost of turf is often touted as a selling point and the cost-conscious municipal officials tend to fall for this rouse, because in tough economic times the prospect of “savings” is an irresistible lure for the cash-strapped municipality that cannot afford to maintain its grass playing fields. In a recent article, Ron Hall, the editor of Athletic Turf News, discussed the necessity of good maintenance for artificial turf fields. Here are his 13-point recommendations -- the observance of which SynTurf.org assumes could add up to a good chunk of chnage:
1. Acquire a maintenance log from the synthetic turf supplier and/or installer. If one is unavailable from the supplier or installer, fashion your own. This is a working document. Enter every maintenance procedure that you perform on the field into the log and date it.
2. Get the most complete and precise maintenance procedures you can from the synthetic supplier and/or installer. Following these recommendations will lessen the chances for disagreements over warranty issues and major repairs during the warranted life of the field.
3. Acquire, if possible, a list of recommended or suggested maintenance equipment and materials from the synthetic turf supplier or installer.
4. Your most important maintenance tool may be a fence around the field, with gated and locked entrances. Unattended fields invite unsupervised play and lend themselves to vandalism. Yes, these fields can sustain a lot of use, but it should be supervised use.
6. Keep trash or litter containers near the sports fields so that users and spectators can dispose of cans, paper and other materials rather than pitching them onto the ground.
7. Develop a strategy to keep materials such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings or wrappers and other wind-blown debris off the field. You don’t want this material to get crushed or ground into and contaminate the infill. The fence around the field will solve keep some wind-blow material off your fields. Many field managers now use push or pull gasoline-powered blowers to remove litter from their fields. Backpack blowers can do the job, as well, as long as operators are careful not to disturb the infill.
8. Inspect fields regularly for damage or unusual wear. Pay special attention to areas that receive lots of traffic (goal mouths and corner kick areas of soccer pitches, the edges of infields on baseball and softball fields, between the hashmarks on football fields) to maintain adequate levels of infill material.
9. Keep a supply of extra synthetic material, glue and other materials to make minor repairs as needed?
10. If possible, keep on hand some extra infill material (perhaps a 55-gal. barrel) to replace what's lost through normal use.
11. Develop a routine for drag matting or brushing your synthetic field to redistribute/even the infill and restore the “grass” blades to an upright position.
12. Equipment is now available to "pick up", filter and return infill material to the surface of synthetic fields. Look for manufacturers to introduce more units to collect infill material, filter it and redistribute it evenly over the surface of a playing surface.
13. The question of sanitizing synthetic fields in light of concerns over the presence of community-acquired MRSA is a difficult one. There have been statements made that rain cleanses these fields, which seems unlikely, inasmuch as even in areas with regular rain car washes seem to do quite well. Also, it's been claimed that environmental conditions, in particular, sunlight and heat destroy MRSA bacteria, which seems reasonable. But what about spring and fall play when these fields are most used for youth sports, often during cloudy, cooler conditions? While other sports surfaces, including locker rooms, training equipment and wresting mats, to name a few, are more likely to harbor MRSA bacteria, the degree of risk of infection from synthetic sports fields remains a matter of lively debate.
“We hope, however, that these suggestions alert you to the very real need to maintain your synthetic turf fields,” wrote Hall. “Remember, the financial investment in these fields is sizable, and your responsibility to provide safe playing conditions for athletes.”