MAINTENANCE of SYNTHETIC TURF INCLUDES:
- Regular cleaning to get rid of debris
- Sanitation and disinfection to protect the health of the players
- Upkeep to keep the field from wearing out more quickly
- Watering to reduce temperature on hot days
- Maintenance and testing of the surface hardness to protect against concussions
- Infill replacement
Routine Maintenance overview by Cornell University Sports Field Management:
"Some basic practices must be made on a routine basis to protect your investment including:
- Measuring field hardness periodically to ensure the level of hardness is lower than the 200 Gmax level. At least once a year.
- Sweeping and dragging to keep the carpet fibers in an upright position. Once a week or once a month depending on use.
- Loosening and redistributing of infill (to improve footing, reduce static electricity and improve the look of the field). Groom fields before each game.
- Checking and replenishing the infill level especially in high use areas. The infill creates the padding and shock-absorption for the synthetic turf system and restores the field’s resiliency. At least once a year. It takes about 20 tons of crumb rubber to provide ¼ inch layer.
- Using a vacuum or leaf blower to remove debris like sunflower seeds. After each game.
- Cleaning with special solvents and cleansers with difficult to remove items. After each game.
- Treating with anti-microbial products to remove bacterial growth. Weekly to monthly.
- Troubleshooting for common problems and minor repairs, such as seam repair. Frequently.
- Removing snow during winter months."
"Prevent problems and extra work by:
- Establishing policies that prohibit the use of chewing gum, sunflower seeds, chewing tobacco while on the field surface.
- Providing trash containers in strategic places so trash is not place on or around the field
- Providing scraper mats where players and coaches enter the field so debris can be removed from shoes.
- Involving athletes to help remove debris after reach game"
INFILL DECOMPACTION AND REPLACEMENT
According to the EPA, "Routine synthetic turf field maintenance includes brushing for infill redistribution, raking or vacuuming for infill decompaction, and sweeping for debris removal. New infill material is sometimes added to existing fields to refresh or replace existing tire crumb rubber." -EPA - Research Protocol: Collections Related to Synthetic Turf Fields with Crumb Rubber Infill
Below, see infill lost from plowing synthetic turf fields in the winter. When infill is lost, replacement is necessary to prevent concussions. (Medway MA artificial turf fields March 23, 2017. Photos by Tracy Stewart)
GMAX HARDNESS TESTING TO PREVENT CONCUSSIONS
"Managing surface hardness on synthetic turf athletic fields requires both routine testing and proper field maintenance. Approximately 15% of concussions in football and soccer result from the head impacting the playing surface."- How to Measure and Manage Surface Hardness on Synthetic Turf Athletic Fields (Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research)
ARTICLES & Videos ON ARTIFICIAL TURF MAINTENANCE
Powerpoint: comprehensive overview of synthetic turf field MAINTENANCE (click below)
MAINTENANCE BREAKDOWN EXAMPLE:
CASE STUDY: Required maintenance for MCPS (Montgomery County Public Schools) PLANT BASED INFILL artificial turf fields:
- G-Max testing
- General sweeping and cleaning, including magnet sweeping, to remove foreign objects such as dirt, leaves, bird droppings, gum and other debris that may collect on the field surface;
- Deep power grooming, sweep and rejuvenation to de-compact infill to maintain appropriate G-Max levels;
- Add additional infill as needed in high traffic areas; and
- Inspection of infill depth and consistency, infill migration, field edging attachments, sewn and glued seams, line verification, and field inlays.
Source: ED committee work session April 21, 2017, Ed Committee, #1 (p. 2)
CASE STUDY: REQUIRED MAINTENANCE FOR MONTGOMERY BLAIR HIGH SCHOOL
Below is a list of the required maintenance for the artificial turf field with plant based infill at Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland, provided by Michael F. Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks:
Daily Maintenance — Inspect the field daily for tears to seams and inlays or other damage, and for foreign objects or liquids on the playing surface. Complete repairs as needed.
Semiweekly Maintenance — Measure the moisture content of the infill and irrigate as required to meet the required moisture levels specified by the turf manufacturer.
Weekly Maintenance — Utilize a sweeper with a magnet attached across the surface to remove any foreign objects. May be needed more frequently if excessive foreign objects are noted on the daily inspections.
Monthly Maintenance — Measure the depth of infill and replenish the infill to the required depth as needed.
Yearly Maintenance — Performed deep grooming and infill replenishment once per year by the manufacturer. Impact testing (commonly referred to as g-max testing) will be performed, which measures the shock-attenuation performance of the field.
Grooming — This will be performed at a minimum of once per month or more frequently as the number of hours dictate. The manufacturer requires that this field be groomed at a maximum interval of 100 hours of use.
Source: ED committee work session April 21, 2017, Ed Committee, #1 (p. 40-41)